By on August 3, 2010

GM in China. (Picture courtesy blog.cleveland.com)

China’s red-hot growth numbers are coming down to earth. Which doesn’t mean that the Chinese are stopping to buy cars. We are now getting into a territory where previous year sales increases were so insane that any more outrageous growth would simply be certifiable. In July 2009, sales in China had exploded by 70 percent. A month later, in August 2009, sales nearly doubled from a year earlier. Any growth that betters these numbers is amazing.

At GM China, sales in July sales rose a very respectable 22.2 percent to 176,645 vehicles. Grouches the Wall Street Journal: “But that was down from 23.2 percent growth in June, and 48.5 percent growth in the first half of the year. In the January-to-July period, the company sold 1.39 million vehicles in China, up 44.5 percent from the first seven months in 2009.” Give them a break, WSJ. 22 percent on top of previous year results is heroic. Ever heard of the tern “base effect?”

Ford just found out that it’s hard to keep pace with the base. Their Chinese sales at the Changan Ford joint venture dropped 6.3 percent in July. If they would count their commercial-vehicle joint venture with Jiangling , where Ford holds a 30 stake, they could report an 8 percent increase. GM unabashedly reports all sales of the Wuling JV, where they hold only 38 percent, as theirs.

Now that we have the GM China numbers, it’s time for an appearance of the patent pending TTAC sales oracle. It predicts that once the CAAM numbers are in, they should be in the 20 percent range.

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