GM Reports Record Sales From China

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
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gm reports record sales from china

More than a quarter of GM’s global production is sold in China. General Motors and its Chinese joint ventures sold a record 2,547,171 vehicles in China in 2011, “an average of one car or truck every 12 seconds,” as GM proudly publicizes. Sales in 2011 were up 8.3 percent, despite a laggardly Chinese market.

GM’s percentage number would be higher, wouldn’t it be for GM’s Chinese volume king Wuling. More than half of GM’s Chinese numbers are on account of the Chinese expert on small delivery vans. SAIC-GM-Wuling sold 1,285,820 vehicles in China last year, a rise of 4.8 percent on an annual basis.

Shanghai GM sold 1,200,355 vehicles in the domestic market, an increase of 16.2 percent from 2010. Of the Shanghai GM brands, Buick sold 645,537 vehicles, an amazing increase of 17.4 percent year on year. Chevrolet sales in China rose 9.4 percent year on year to 595,068 units. Cadillac nearly doubled its Chinese sales, reporting 30,008 units in 2011, and an increase of 72.8 percent from the previous year. GM’s imported Opel brand remains a rounding error on sales of 4,864 units.

As discussed last week, GM China is a pretty good proxy for the Chinese market: Joint venture cars, especially larger displacement models, sell at a healthy clip. Local brands, especially the sub 1.6 liter genre and commercial vehicles are weak.

PublishedChangeCalculatedDiffShanghai GM1,200,35516.20%1,275,47775,122Buick645,53717.40%Chevrolet595,0689.40%Cadillac30,00872.80%Opel4,86451.10%SAIC-GM-Wuling1,285,8204.80%1,215,562-70,258Wuling1,193,7083.90%Baojun21,854FAW-GM56,13256,132Total2,547,1712,547,171

There is a possibility that Shanghai GM’s numbers are even better, and that SAIC-GM-Wuling’s numbers are a bit worse: If you add the reported numbers of the respective brands, Shanghai GM’s total is 1,275,477, some 75,000 more than reported. By the same math, SAIC-GM-Wuling’s total is 1,215,562, some 70,000 less than reported. In the summation the total jibes. Did Shanghai GM take 70,000 for the team? We have an inquiry in to Shanghai GM, let’s see what they say in the morning.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Lokki Lokki on Jan 09, 2012

    This will come across as cynical so it probably is, but it's also a sincere question: The thing IMHO that led to GM's downfall in the US was that, when volumes were high, they nibbled on quality to increase margins until it bit them. Then they'd swear they'd reformed but go down the same path. Now, in China they have those glory volumes of yesteryear. Bertel, based on what you've seen, are they avoiding the trap of sales today, tears tomorrow? That is, how is their long-term quality in relationship to their competition? Here in the states I'm often tempted by the General's new offering but I've learned to wait three years at which point the tears of joy turn into plain ol tears at peeling paint, failed switchgear, or warped plastic intake manifolds et al. I would like to think that based on the pictures of Chinese Buicks, they have made a true fresh start there.

  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
  • Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
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  • Tassos A "small car", TIM????????????This is the GLE. Have you even ever SEEN the huge thing at a dealer's??? NOT even the GLC,and Merc has TWO classes even SMALLER than the C (The A and the B, you guessed it? You must be a GENIUS!).THe E is a "MIDSIZED" crossover, NOT A SMALL ONE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, oh CLUELESS one.I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE NONSENSE you post here every god damned day.And I BET you will never even CORRECT your NONSENSE, much less APOLOGIZE for your cluelessness and unprofessionalism.
  • Stuki Moi "How do you take a small crossover and make it better?Slap the AMG badge on it and give it the AMG treatment."No, you don't.In fact, that is specifically what you do NOT do.Huge, frail wheels, and postage stamp sidewalls, do nothing but make overly tall cuvs tramline and judder. And render them even less useful across the few surfaces where they could conceivably have an advantage over more properly dimensioned cars. And: Small cuvs have pitiful enough fuel range as it is, even with more sensible engines.Instead, to make a small CUV better, you 1)make it a lower slung wagon. And only then give it the AMG treatment. AMG'ing, makes sense for the E class. And these days with larger cars, even the C class. For the S class, it never made sense, aside from the sheer aural visceralness of the last NA V8. The E-class is the center of AMG. Even the C-class, rarely touches the M3.Or 2) You give it the Raptor/Baja treatment. Massive, hypersophisticated suspension travel allowing landing meaningful jumps. As well as driving up and down wide enough stairs if desired. That's a kind of driving for which a taller stance, and IFS/IRS, makes sense.Attempting to turn a CUV into some sort of a laptime wonder, makes about as much sense as putting an America's Cup rig atop a ten deck cruiseship.