General Motors and its joint ventures sold more than 4 million vehicles in China last year, marking the first time its topped that mark, the automaker said. The total accounts for more than half of the company’s global sales.
GM’s retail sales in China totaled 4,040,789 units, up 4.4% from the previous high in 2016. China was GM’s largest retail market for the sixth consecutive year. In contrast, GM sold barely more than 3 million vehicles in the United States.
GM Canada sold 302,826 vehicles in 2017, up 13.3% over the previous year. Other regions haven’t reported but the company pulled out of the European market in last summer by selling its stake its stake in Opel and Vauxhall to PSA.
GM benefited from record domestic sales in China by the Cadillac, Buick and Baojun brands, said Matt Tsien, GM executive vice president and president of GM China.
“Consumers’ trust in our brands will help us achieve sustainable and high-quality growth going forward,” Tsien said. “We will continue to bring the right products and technology to market to meet increasingly diverse demands for personal mobility.”
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In 2017, GM added 18 new and refreshed models in China. The improved product mix contributed to robust performance across segments – especially SUVs and luxury vehicles. GM’s SUV sales in China surged 37% last year.
Cadillac, which has had 22 months in a row of double-digit sales growth, posted a sales increase of 51% to 175,489 units in 2017. The new vehicles included the XT5 luxury SUV, ATS-L sport sedan and new XTS luxury sedan. Last year, China surpassed the United States as the brand’s largest retail market for the first time.
Buick, GM’s best-selling brand in China, posted sales exceeding 1.18 million units. Buick’s leading position in the mainstream passenger car market was strengthened by seven product launches in 2017. They included the GL6 MPV and Excelle GX wagon, which feature GM’s new highly efficient Ecotec 1.0T and 1.3T turbocharged engines.
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Chevrolet boosted sales China, with double-digit growth in the second half of the year. Its sales for 2017 as a whole were up 4.2% to 547,561 units. The Equinox global SUV, a key driver of the brand’s portfolio upgrade since its introduction in April, established itself in one of the most competitive market segments. Sales of the Malibu family, Chevrolet’s flagship sedan, rose 51% and accounted for about 22% of the brand’s deliveries.
Baojun sales in 2017 jumped 45% to 996,629 units. Its strong momentum was led by the 510 small SUV, which was launched in February and became the brand’s best-selling nameplate in 2017. Baojun also benefited from making automatic transmissions available across its mainstream lineup ahead of its entry-level rivals, GM said.
Wuling sustained its leadership of the mini-commercial vehicle segment. Deliveries totaled nearly 1.14 million units despite the segment’s contraction. The brand broadened its presence in China’s passenger car market, as the Hong Guang S3 MPV joined the popular Hong Guang family.
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GM accelerated its drive to zero emissions with the launch of the Buick Velite 5 extended-range electric vehicle and Baojun E100 electric vehicle in 2017. These products fortified the company’s unmatched lineup of domestically built electrified passenger vehicles.