General Motors’ monthly sales results in China slipped again last month as the automaker continues to battle headwinds created by the slowdowns in the Chinese economy.
In September, domestic sales by GM and its joint ventures declined 3.9% year-over-year to 295,236 vehicles. Sales were up 18.7% last month compared with August, the second month-on-month increase in a row thanks to the introduction of new products, GM executives noted.
“GM’s product mix has been improving with recently launched models. This has helped us meet consumers’ evolving and diversifying needs,” said GM Executive Vice President and GM China President Matt Tsien. “We anticipate growth in the SUV, MPV and luxury segments representing about 80% of overall growth in the market over the next several years. GM is well-positioned to participate in this growth.”
Earlier this month, Tsien told analysts during a conference at the GM Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan, that even though the growth of the Chinese market has slowed perceptibly, it enormous size and vitality make a promising place for GM to make substantial headway and profits in the future.
GM is the only company that now occupies a solid place at both the lower and upper end of the Chinese market. It joint ventures have a solid hold in the critical economy end of the market with the Wuling and Baojun brands and have built an enormous foothold in wealthier urban markets with Buick.
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Cadillac is also expanding its presence in China further solidifying GM’s presence at the top end of the market, he said.
The new Cadillac ATS-L luxury sport sedan was officially put on sale in China just this week and is targeted at younger car buyers in China’s mainstream luxury sedan segment.
The new ATS-L comes with an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission and the start/stop system. It is the first model in China with OnStar 4G LTE, the first in its class with original onboard Wi-Fi (Car-Fi) and the first luxury sedan compatible with iOS-based Apple CarPlay, according to GM.
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GM executives are also carefully watching developments unfolding at Volkswagen AG, which has been the market leader in China.
However, despite tough monthly results recently, GM and its joint ventures have recorded a modest sales increase of 1.6% through the first nine months of the year, as increasing demand for SUVs, MPVs and luxury vehicles helped offset the market slowdown.
Volkswagen has been the market leader in China so far this year but like other carmakers it has experienced difficulties and the company’s diesel scandal in North America and Europe have cast a pall over its efforts to expand its market share in other markets around the world.
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GM’s total sales of 2.49 million units leave it within striking distance of the record it set last year despite the slowing of economic growth across China.