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Toyota Could Lose Sales Lead to VW This Year

Japanese giant plagued by problems in China.

by on Jan.26, 2015

A Toyota dealership in China was burned in 2012. Weak demand there could let VW pass the Japanese giant.

Toyota’s worldwide sales surged 3% last year, once again positioning the Japanese giant as the world’s top-selling automotive manufacturer. But with Toyota officials glumly anticipating a modest decline in 2015, the Japanese maker could cede leadership to its ambitious German rival Volkswagen AG.

Assign credit – or blame, if you prefer – to China. VW continues to dominate the world’s largest automotive market even while Toyota struggles to gain traction there. Japanese makers, in general, have had serious problems making headway in China, especially after tempers flared due a dispute between the two Asian nations over ownership of a chain of strategically placed islands.

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At one point, rioters burned a Toyota dealership and damaged 100s of Japanese vehicles. Sales have only slowly begun to recover, but Toyota’s sales in China are still barely a third of those of the market’s top two manufacturers, Volkswagen and General Motors.

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New Sales Record Can’t Push GM Past VW in China

GM finishes second for second consecutive year while Toyota is third.

by on Jan.06, 2015

Despite a record-setting performance in 2014, GM finished second to Volkswagen in China again.

With archrival Toyota beginning to retrench in the world’s largest market, General Motors and its joint ventures sold a record 3,539,970 vehicles in China in 2014, an average of one vehicle every nine seconds and almost 9,700 vehicles each day.

GM’s sales were up 12% from the previous high of 3,160,377 vehicles sold in 2013, but it wasn’t enough to pass market leader Volkswagen, which in 2013 emerged as the leading seller of new vehicles in China. Even Toyota’s sales were up 12.5%, but the company still finished a distant third behind VW and GM in 2014.

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VW sales rose 18% to more than 1.8 million vehicles, the company said today. That compares with GM’s 1.73 million units, an 11% increase. In 2013, the German automaker outsold GM in China for the first time in nine years. (more…)

GM Earnings Beat Expectations

Recall crisis shows little impact.

by on Oct.23, 2014

GM CEO Mary Barra is offering a positive assessment of the maker's third-quarter earnings.

Battered by recalls and facing challenges in markets as diverse as China, Russia and South America, General Motors nonetheless managed to beat expectations with its third-quarter earnings report, though revenues fell short.

The maker delivered net income of $1.4 billion, or 81 cents a share after factoring in one-time special items that had a $300 million, or 16-cent per share, impact on the bottom line. Factoring in those one-time costs, GM would have earned 97 cents a share, up slightly from 96 cents a year earlier – and two cents above the consensus estimate of industry analysts, according to Thomson Reuters.

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“Strong global sales and growing margins in North America and China helped GM deliver very solid third quarter results,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a prepared statement accompanying the July to September earnings results. “Despite industry challenges in Russia and South America, our earnings were on plan as we continue to execute our customer-focused strategy.”

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China Plays Critical Role in GM’s Intelligent Vehicle Development

Maker plans to leverage expertise to produce smart cars.

by on Oct.20, 2014

General Motors is planning to further develop its autonomous vehicle technology in China, in particular its ENVI-style vehicles.

General Motors plans to bring its latest technology to China and use its technical resources in there to develop vehicles that can fit into the country’s growing megacities that continue to expand, GM top executive in China said this week.

“China has indeed has been a very rewarding market for GM we’ve benefited from the tremendous growth,” noted Matt Tsien, president of GM China. China plays very big role in GM strategic considerations and China’s voice is a very strong voice within GM, Tsien added during a discussion at the annual Global Automotive Forum in Wuhan, China.

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China became the world’s largest single automotive market in 2009 and the size of country’s car fleet has doubled in the last five years and is expected to double again by 2020. (more…)

Volkswagen Adds to Sales Lead Over GM in China

by on Oct.13, 2014

GM's sales in China, in which Cadillac is critical, are up 11.6%, but still trail Volkswagen's results.

The automotive sales race in China is a neck-and-neck affair, but the Volkswagen Group continues to hold a lead of about 140,000 units over rival General Motors. Other makers that were expecting to see strong results there – namely Ford and Nissan – have fallen off the pace a bit in recent months.

Volkswagen reported its sales have increased 15% to 2.72 million units through Sept. 30, making China the company’s single largest global market. Sales were strong during September when the German maker delivered 2.72 million units in China, marking a 15.2% increase.

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GM and its Chinese joint ventures reported a 15.2% increase in September as well. For the first nine months, GM’s sales totaled 2.58 million vehicles, up 11.6% from the same period a year earlier. (more…)

GM, Ford Enjoy Blistering Sales Pace in China

Automakers tracking to set new records.

by on Aug.13, 2014

GM's China operations sold their 2 millionth vehicle during 2014 last month. It marks the five straight years they've hit that mark.

General Motors and Ford continued to roll up record sales in China last month where both companies are continuing to expand their presence in what has become the world’s largest automotive market.

GM reported its joint ventures in China set a new domestic sales record for July, by selling nearly 250,000 as demand increased 12.7% from the same month in 2013. In addition, GM has now sold more than 2 million vehicle in China, marking the fifth consecutive year and the earliest ever that GM has reached the milestone.

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Ford China sales grew by 25% in July with 90,775 vehicles sold, compared with 72,834 sold in July 2013. Steady customer demand for Ford’s global nameplates pushed year-to-date sales to 640,031 vehicles, up 33% from 480,555 sold during the same period last year and putting the company in striking distance of selling more than 1 million vehicles in China for the first time. (more…)

Toyota Maintains Global Sales Lead – Barely

VW closing gap as GM settles into third spot.

by on Jul.30, 2014

Strong demand for new models, such as the redesigned Corolla, helped Toyota retain the sales lead for the first half of 2014.

While its lead has been narrowing, Toyota Motor Co. retained its crown as the world’s best-selling automaker during the first half of 2014.

The maker edged out rivals Volkswagen AG and General Motors in the global sales sweepstakes as demand for its cars, trucks and crossovers surged to 5.097 million between January and June, a 4% increase fueled by growth in markets ranging from U.S. and Europe to China and the Japanese home islands.

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That was not only an all-time record but exceeded forecasts – while positioning Toyota to meet a goal of becoming the first automaker ever to sell 10 million vehicles in a single year. VW is also shooting for the 10 million mark, though preliminary data indicate it only tallied sales of 4.97 million vehicles during the first half, GM following at 4.92 million.

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Chinese Newspaper Lauds GM for Social Responsibility

GM China’s efforts to cut pollution, helping people nets honor.

by on Jul.25, 2014

General Motors China was recognized today as the fourth-best Fortune 500 company in the area of corporate social responsibility at the 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Annual Conference in Beijing.

For the second consecutive year, Southern Weekly, an influential Chinese newspaper, honored General Motors China as one of the top companies in the area of corporate social responsibility for its civic spirit and sensitivity to the environment.

The Corporate Social Responsibility Annual Conference, which is sponsored by Southern Weekly, helps increase awareness of CSR among companies while honoring their significant achievements.

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Southern Weekly is described by western journalists as one of China’s most outspoken and independent news organizations; however, it is part of provincial newspaper group supervised by Guangdong Provincial Party Committee of China’s ruling Communist Party in Southern China in a province that has been leader in modernizing and expanding the Chinese economy. (more…)

GM, Ford Vehicle Sales Blazing in China

Makers posted record results for first six months.

by on Jul.08, 2014

With cars like the Focus selling well, Ford set a sales record for the first six months in China this year.

General Motors, Ford and their joint venture partners posted record sales in China for the first half of the 2014, capping off the period with a strong showing in June.

GM’s sales in China in the first six months increased 10.5% from last year’s previous record for the period to 1.73 million units. In June, GM’s sales increased 9.1%. Ford China reported a 35% increase for the first six months of 2014, selling 549,256 vehicles. Ford China’s June sales increased 17%, the automaker reported.

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“GM has experienced growth in demand for our products across China this year, especially at the higher end of our lineup and in the SUV/MPV segment,” said Matt Tsien, GM executive vice president and president of GM China. “We anticipate sales remaining strong through the end of 2014, as more people – particularly outside China’s major cities – become first-time vehicle buyers.” (more…)

Ford, GM Continue Torrid Sales Pace in China

Makers set May record; Ford expects to hit 1 million units in 2014.

by on Jun.09, 2014

With cars like the Focus selling well, Ford expects to surpass 1 million in sales in China this year.

General Motors and Ford continue to roll up big sales totals in China, setting sales records during May.

Ford China sales grew 32% in May with 93,323 and Ford now expects to sell more than 1 million vehicles in China for the first time ever during 2014. Year-to-date sales were up 39%, with 461,473 wholesales sold compared to 332,308 wholesales sold in the first five months of 2013, Ford said.

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“Our sales are a direct reflection of our continued commitment to bring the best of Ford to China with a great lineup of Ford cars and utilities that offer high quality, great fuel efficiency, world class safety and smart technologies,” said John Lawler, chairman and chief executive officer, Ford Motor China. (more…)