By on January 28, 2011

The oft predicted collapse of the Chinese market does not seem to happen. GM is the canary in the Chinese coalmine, and January, the month before the Lunar New Year festivities, is a key selling month. So goes GM, so goes China, so goes January, so goes the year. This time, January was especially critical: Many had predicted that the cancellation of tax incentives for sub 1.6 liter cars, that went in effect on January 1, would have serious pull-forward repercussions. Not as far as GM is concerned.

GM China sold roughly 20 percent more vehicles in January 2011 than in January 2010, Terry Johnsson, vice president for GM’s China operations, told Reuters. “Even though the December numbers were really high because of the big push before the incentives disappeared, January is still running at an incredible level,” Johnsson said.

This is even more incredible because January 2010 had been an absolutely mind-blowing month in China. Sales in last year’s January had jumped 126 percent, despite a sales week missing, because the holidays had started in the last week of the month. This year, they start this coming weekend.

One possible fly in the ointment: GM China’s model mix is not particularly sub 1.6 liter heavy. The offerings of the Wuling joint venture are. If Johnsson referred to GM China including Wuling, then 20 percent are a good omen. If he is only referring to the GM/SAIC joint venture, then the total market could react very differently than the usually reliable leading indicator GM China. But anyway, as predicted by TTAC, the sky in China appears to hold and is not falling at all.

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8 Comments on “The Sky Over China Is Not Falling: GM January Sales Up 20 percent...”

  • avatar

    So why did we bail them out again?

  • avatar

    Maybe.  But I still prefer the Pyongyang traffic girls.  Such discipline cannot be discounted.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, and after experiencing oriental traffic cops in Okinawa, male OR female, you don’t want to cross them, either! Disciplined? Can you say disciplined? I was and am astonished at how they do their job. That was 40 years ago! Now I’m wishing I had a nice, tall glass of cold, “green” Orion beer!

  • avatar

    Do these good sales numbers have anything to do with the flood of people trying to beat the vehicle registration limits in Shanghai before they go in to effect?

    • 0 avatar

      The registration limits were in Beijing, and they went in effect end of December. Neither Shanghai nor Beijing are China, just like the U.S. isn’t Washington, DC, or New York City. Except for lazy journos who can’t get their behind to the provinces.

  • avatar

    At least GM can be happy about its partner SAIC Wuling selling 755,000 units of the Wuling Sunshine in China last year! That’s 230,000 units more than the number of Ford F Series sold in the USA last year, and 260,000 units more than the number of VW Golf sold in the whole of Europe!!
    With these figures the Wuling Sunshine should compete with the Toyota Corolla for the title of 2010 best selling vehicle in the world…. more details here if you are interested:
    cheers, Matt

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