GM sold 2.55 million units in China amidst waning industry demand

Article by Anita Panait, on January 10, 2012

General Motors Co. posted an 8.3% increase in sales in China in 2011 to 2.55 million units, pushed by high demand for its Buick and Chevrolet vehicles. The company’s venture with SAIC Motor Corp. posted a 4.8% hike in Chinese sales in 2011 to 1.29 million mini commercial vehicles and sedans. The 2011 figures were spurred by the release of new brand Baojun as well as discounts on light trucks.

In April 2011, GM said it will unveil more than 60 new and upgraded models in the five years from 2011 to 2015.  GM plans to expand its Cadillac brand and to introduce the Malibu sedan in China in 2012. The company posted growth despite waning demand for cars in China, caused by inflation and the end of a two-year stimulus plan.

John Zeng of LMC Automotive said GM’s growth can be attributed to the carmaker’s two-prong attack. "In higher-end models they introduced a curvy European style which Chinese consumers liked, and in the low-end market they launched completely locally designed models."

Bryan Nesbitt, executive director for GM exterior design and Chevrolet Brand Champion, quipped that the exterior of the new Malibu features the same design DNA as its Camaro and Corvette siblings.

It is now more imposing on the road, thanks to its wider stance, broad shoulders and an integrated rear spoiler. Its 62-inch (1,574 mm) front and rear tracks are also over two inches (51 mm) wider than those on its predecessor.

Its wheelbase is also around 4.5-inch (114 mm) shorter than the previous model. Styling elements on the exterior include Chevrolet's signature dual-port grille flanked by projector HID headlamps as well as larger Chevrolet bow-tie badges on the front and rear. It also features new LED dual-element taillamps inspired by Camaro.

Customers can choose from an array of wheel choices measuring 17, 18 and 19 inches. Chevrolet expects the Malibu to be SAE-certified as one of the most aerodynamic vehicles in the segment, with a coefficient of drag (Cd) rating that is near 0.280 of the Chevrolet Volt. Thanks to the new shape and design of the new Malibu, it has 60 less counts of wind drag compared to its predecessor.

Select models of the Chevrolet Malibu in North America come with a feature that helps improve aerodynamics and its fuel efficiency sans any sacrifice in the exterior design. This feature is electronically controlled and integrated with active aero shutters that could automatically shut the flow of air through the lower intake opening when there is a minimal need for engine cooling, like when the Malibu is moving at highway speeds.

This improves the car’s aerodynamics by redirecting airflow around the front and down the sides. When there is a high demand for engine cooling – like when moving up a hill or pulling a trailer -- the shutters remain open.

Topics: gm, china

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