General Motors is hanging on by a thread when it comes to the competition for the title “World’s Largest Automaker” as the Detroit-based automaker sold 2.42 million vehicles in the first quarter of this year.
The company, which was the third-largest maker last year behind Toyota and Volkswagen, rode strong sales in China to a 1.9% global increase on a year-over-year basis.
“The momentum our brands are building in China, the U.S. and Western Europe more than offset difficult conditions in some other large markets like Russia and Brazil,” said GM CEO Mary Barra in a statement.
Success in China is the key to growing an automaker’s overall sales figures and GM fared well in China – it’s biggest market – by selling 82,319 more vehicles in the first quarter of 2015 than in 2014 for a 9.4% increase.
However, sales in the U.S. were nearly as strong with an increase of more than 45,000 units during the quarter resulting in an increase of 6.1%.
Volkswagen sold 2.49 million vehicles worldwide in the first quarter while Toyota has yet to report its sales for the first quarter of 2015. Volkswagen is expected to finish the year atop the heap, which would be three years ahead of when Martin Winterkorn, VW’s CEO, predicted it would happen.
GM also needs to keep an eye on the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Through the first two months of the year, it outsold GM by 2,000 vehicles: 1.185 million to 1.183 million. CEO Carlos Ghosn also laid out a 2018 sales goal of being third place in global sales.
(GM and partners investing $16 billion in new products for China. For more, Click Here.)
GM performed well due to an “aggressive onslaught of new products and customer-driven innovation,” Barra said.
She pointed to vehicles like the Chevy Trax and Chevy Colorado as examples of new products filling voids in the company’s line-up. She added that the addition of customer-oriented features, like in-car wi-fi are contributing significantly to the company’s sales results.
(Click Here for details Renault-Nissan gaining on GM.)
Other first quarter global sales highlights:
- Cadillac was up 2.5%, driven by a 23% increase in China.
- Opel/Vauxhall’s sales increase outpaced the European region’s growth by 0.2 percentage points.
- Buick was up 8%.
- GMC was up 15%, for its best first quarter sales since 2005.
Chevrolet deliveries in the United States increased 5 percent on the strength of a 19% increase in crossover deliveries and a 31% increase in truck sales. Deliveries in China were up 7%.
(To see more about VW and Toyota going to war for global supremacy, Click Here.)
In prior quarters, GM reported wholesale deliveries in China, which are vehicles sold to dealers. Beginning this quarter, GM is reporting deliveries to customers.