GM's China Sales Down 1.8 Percent In July. Ignore It.

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
gm s china sales down 1 8 percent in july ignore it

GM China and its joint ventures sold 173,398 vehicles in China during the month of July, “as Shanghai GM and GM’s Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac brands all set sales records for the month,” GM’s press release says. Nonetheless, GM’s China sales in July were down 1.8 percent from the same month last year. Now how did that happen? Why should you care? Why should anybody care?

We at TTAC care about GM China for many reasons, one of them being that GM serves as TTAC’s Patent Pending Sales Oracle for China. As goes GM, as goes China. This used to be the case in the past. Lately, the oracle became a bit wobbly. Why? Because more than half of GM China’s sales used to be little delivery vans made by the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture. This segment has collapsed for various reasons.

There was a preferential tax treatment last year for cars below 1.6 liter. What’s more, there was a “cars to the countryside” subsidy program. These little delivery vans are as popular in the Chinese countryside as pickups are in Texas. However, the popularity fades with the subsidy money gone. And that drags GM’s overall unit sales numbers down.

GM China, July 2011

Jul-11Jul-10Change calcChange publishedShanghai GM91,81880,26914.4%14.4%Buick50,26543,54115.4%15.4%Chevrolet46,15435,38530.4%17.4%Cadillac2,3651,34376.1%76.1%SAIC-GM-Wuling77,94490,658-14.0%FAW-GM3,3535,560-39.7%Total173,398176,645-1.8%-1.80%

Blue: TTAC calculation. Black: GM numbers.

Meanwhile, GM China’s passenger vehicle market is alive and well. Buick up 15.4 percent.

Chevrolet allegedly up 17.4 percent. When running the numbers, we get an even better number. 35,385 Chevys sold in July 2010 and 46,154 sold in July 2011 translate into an increase of 30.4 percent on my version of Excel. GM’s chief number honcho in Detroit is as stumped as I am. He kicked it back to Dayna Hart in Shanghai, where it is 10:30 pm on a Friday night ….

When Chinese new car sales will be announced next week on Wednesday, you probably will see a meek number. Don’t believe it. The Chinese car market is composed from two thirds of passenger vehicles, and one third of commercial vehicles. Passenger vehicle sales grow. Commercial vehicle sales are down.

Supporting indicator: Audi’s July sales in China were up 35.2 percent at 27,767 vehicles, accounting for more than a quarter of group sales, Reuters says.

Join the conversation
  • Rnc Rnc on Aug 05, 2011

    Down 1.8% ignore recall the government, banks, etc. saying the same thing as the great crash was beginning.

    • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Aug 05, 2011

      I'm not saying "Down 18%, ignore it." I don't think GM make much money anyway from a million cheap delivery vans which they have to share with two other companies, and for which they don't get license fees for brand and design. They were nice to pad the number while they were up, now they hurt.

  • CJinSD CJinSD on Aug 05, 2011

    GM can't go out of business fast enough for me, but this story seems to portray a company that has a properly diverse model line that provides for continuously strong sales in a variety of market conditions.

    • See 1 previous
    • CJinSD CJinSD on Aug 05, 2011

      @PintoFan Irony, thy name is PintoFan.

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