First the good news. AFP reports that GM's joint venture Chinese sales rose 18.5 percent in 2007, clocking-in at 1.03m vehicles. That's 548,945 units with SAIC-GM-Wuling and 479,427 vehicles through GM-SAIC. In a written statement, GM China Group President and Managing Director Kevin Wale rang-in the glad tidings. "Despite growing competition across the board, demand remained robust for our established products such as the Buick Excelle and LaCrosse and the Chevrolet Lova," Wale said. According to the statement, GM snagged the title of sales leader in the PRC– amongst global automakers– for the third straight year. Yes, well, Dow Jones Market Watch puts a different spin on the story. DJ restricts the stats to '07 passenger cars, and says Volkswagen's Chinese production outstripped GM's by 431,064; putting VW's increase at 28 percent. It also points out that GM's 18.7 percent rise represents slowing growth, when compared to the previous year's 26.8 percent gain, or the overall market's 20.7 percent expansion. Bloomberg fingered the usual reason: product. "GM's expansion in the world's second-largest auto market slowed as customers opted for Volkswagen's Skoda Octavia and the Ford Focus over the Buick Excelle." As China's domestic automakers break free from their foreign "partners," the boom times may soon be at an end.
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