By on December 16, 2010

Today, Bloomberg delights its readers with the news that “General Motors Co.’s passenger-car venture in China sold its millionth unit this year, becoming the first carmaker to reach that sales level in the world’s largest auto market.” Spinmeistery at maximum revolutions.

Just a few days ago, the same Bloomberg had this story:

“Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest carmaker, said annual deliveries in 2010 will exceed 7 million for the first time as sales in China surge.  VW’s 11-month deliveries in the world’s largest car market advanced 38 percent to 1.82 million vehicles, accounting for 28 percent of global sales, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said in a statement today.”

Of course, technically, both stories are correct. “GM’s passenger car venture in China” is one joint venture (with SAIC), while Volkswagen’s passenger car operations in China span joint ventures with two companies, SAIC  and FAW. And truth be told, Volkswagen’s numbers also include Audi and Skoda (but not to material effects – and anyway, that “GM passenger car venture in China” consists of Buick and Chevrolet, so there.)

The common reader is not interested in new math or technicalities, he or she wants (if at all) to know who is more successful than the other. And Volkswagen vastly outsells GM in passenger vehicles in China.

And what ever happened with staying on topic? Wasn’t GM’s line that they are China’s biggest, with more than 2.3 million expected sales, including Wuling minivans? Now suddenly, it’s down to a million – passenger vehicles. Don’t confuse a reader with the attention span of young puppies. They’ll start shaking their heads and might sue for whiplash.

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5 Comments on “Chinese Numerology, GM Edition...”


  • avatar
    Steven02

    So, it sounds like they are literally talking about passenger cars and not total vehicles.  Sounds like GM is beating VW as far as cars are concerned.  There is still another million other vehicle GM is planning on selling in China this year.  GM expects 2.3 million total vehicles.  It is in the GM article that you linked.

    From the GM Bloomberg article.
    GM, the biggest U.S. automaker, said last month it expects to sell as many as 2.3 million vehicles, including minivans, in China this year and for sales to increase as much as 15 percent in 2011. China is the largest market by unit sales for the Detroit-based automaker.

    I literally believe this is the difference between cars and trucks.  Any idea on what the total vehicle sales is for either auto manufacture?  Does the 1.38M number include all VW sales?  It sounds like the 2.3M number does include all of what GM is expecting to sale.

    • 0 avatar

      This comment illustrates vividly how easy it is to confuse the public. Volkswagen does not produce or sell any trucks or delivery vans in China. Those 1.82 million vehicles are all passenger cars.
      How can someone with 1 million passenger cars beat someone with 1.82 million passenger cars “as far as cars are concerned?”
      That other million in the 2.3 million units GM wants to sell are those Wuling delivery vans. Made by a franchise of which GM owns 34 percent. They want to increase that to 44 percent.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Does VW sell any SUVs or cross overs there?

    • 0 avatar

      Arghh. The confusion continues. An SUV or crossover counts as a “passenger car” in China. No CAFE, no shenanigans.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Do minivans count as passenger cars too?  I mean, if that is the case, are they simply pointing out they they are the single joint venture that sold a million cars, which is why they aren’t counting Wuling in there and why they aren’t counting VW’s combined total?


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