Sales of General Motors Co. in China increased by 11% for March 2012 compared to the same month last year, thanks to the demand for automobiles such as the Chevrolet New Sail and Buick Excelle. The company is the biggest foreign automaker in this Chinese nation. Cars and Wuling minivans deliveries rose to 257,944 units in March, the automaker revealed.
For the three months ending March, unit sales leaped 8.7% to a record 745,152 units. The automaker is betting on the growth in China to keep its lead over Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Corp. as the largest vehicle manufacturer in the world.
The automaker attracted vehicle purchasers with the Malibu mid-sized sedan when it was introduced in February, while first-time buyers purchased vehicles even with the sluggish economy, according to John Zeng, Shanghai-based director of Asian forecasting at LMC Automotive.
President and managing director Kevin Wale at GM China Group disclosed that their new models such as the Chevrolet Malibu have "gotten off to a solid start," matching the current strength of "established" products like the Chevrolet Cruze, Cadillac SRX and Buick Excelle. In its first month after it was launched, Malibu sales totaled 4,289 units.
Shanghai General Motors -- manufacturer of the Chevrolet and Buick automobiles in China -- increased sales by 11% to 110,038 units last month.
SAIC-GM-Wuling Automotive Co. -- the venture that builds mini commercial automobiles that transports people and goods -- increased deliveries by 12% to 139,768 units, GM revealed. The two SAIC joint ventures are the automaker's two biggest partnerships in China.
Additionally, GM has a joint venture with FAW Group which manufactures commercial automobiles. Joint venture sales last month reached 7,417 units. LMC Automotive's Zeng stated that when the economy slows, individuals have the tendency to delay replacing their automobiles. However, 82% of the vehicle purchasers in China are first-time buyers, and "are still eager to buy," he added.