Boding not well for the Chinese market, our patent pending China sales oracle GM China reports 4.6 percent fewer sales in April than in April 2010.
Well, actually GM does not report that. Reuters does.
GM announces that “General Motors and its joint ventures sold 203,367 vehicles in China in April. It was the third time in 2011 that GM’s monthly sales in the world’s largest vehicle market have exceeded 200,000 units.” The press release says that “domestic sales by Shanghai GM increased 7.4 percent” and that “domestic sales by GM’s other manufacturing joint ventures, SAIC-GM-Wuling and FAW-GM, totaled 100,262 units and 6,470 units, respectively.” GM doesn’t sreveal whether Wuling is up or down.
Reuters notes with a raised eyebrow that “no comparison (is) given.”
GM is creating a lot of work this time. Trying to pull up prior year data on Wuling created an error on GM’s server at the time of this typing: “The requested resource (/servlet/GatewayServlet) is not available.”
China’s Communist Party to the rescue: Its organ People’s Daily reports that SAIC-GM-Wuling and FAW-GM had sales of 123,428 units in April 2010. After a lot of digging and calculating, we find out that those “other joint ventures” had a loss of 13.53 percent.
The Wuling “breadvans”, as they are called in China due to their shape, were good for goosing GM’s numbers while they were up. They had been lagging for a while, raining on GM’s otherwise good numbers in China. Now, GM China, which achieved a respectable result in the passenger vehicle market, is driven into minus territory by the suddenly not so attractive vans.
As for the total across all joint ventures, the press release gives no comparison total for April 2010. Again, we must use People’s Daily: 213,115 in April 2010. Reuters is right: 203,367 in April 2011 compared with 213,115 in April 2010 is a loss of 4.57 percent (and about an hour of my time.)
Why make it so hard? Why are we pushed in the hands of China’s Communist Party if all we want is a lowly, but correct percentage?
As for our sales oracle: Who knows. GM used to be a great leading indicator for the Chinese market. It usually outperformed the market by a few points. Now with Wuling, down by the double digits, and with Wuling being half of GM China’s total, we don’t dare to touch the oracle this month. April 2010 had been a red-hot month in China, up 41 percent. Makes for tough comparisons. Let’s hope for the best when CAAM announces the numbers some time next week.