By on January 6, 2012

Shanghai GM sold 1.23 million cars in 2011, up 18.5 percent from a year earlier, Reuters reports. This on account of 645,537 Buicks sold in China in 2011, up 17.4 percent. Annual sales of Chevrolet models are reported up 17.9 percent to 555,991 units, Cadillac sales are said to be up 72.8 percent to 30,008 units. But waitaminute – didn’t GM China sell more than 2 million units the year before? Where are they?

What is missing in the tally are a million or so Wulings,  which helped prop up GM’s image as China’s largest automaker. This year, the commercial and low displacement segments showed great weakness in China throughout the year. Suddenly, Wuling rained into GM China’s good numbers.

What is also missing is the news release Reuters based its story on. Reuters says it’s on GM’s website. It is not. Or no longer. Maybe we’ll get a new one with the missing Wulings.

In a way GM China stands for all of China: 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.

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12 Comments on “Shanghai GM’s 2011 Sales Up 18.5 Percent To 1.23 Million – Excuse Me?...”

  • avatar

    I hope GM and other companies either avoid or stop thinking China is a bottomless pit of consumers for their products, as that is short-term thinking and will kick them in the pants in the long run and have to go back playing catch-up. Just a random thought of generalities, but something tells me this is exactly what is happening.

    If I’m off-base, the B&B will be sure to correct and enlighten me!

  • avatar

    This is just typical GM. Like the old GM. Nothing much has changed. They still misrepresent the facts. If they can manipulate numbers in their favor they will gladly do that. If things are not good, they will spin it so that they still look good. GM has no morals. They are and always have been a bunch of shills and con men. That is why I will not do business with them. They should have been left to fail without any bailouts. The rotten eggs in their organization should have been thrown out. They weren’t. These rotten eggs are still calling the shots. Sure they have new names, but their motivation is still the same. Dupe the public.

  • avatar

    Don’t blame the players, blame the game.

    Some government agency makes the rules on how to build(…like crash standards and fuel efficiencies) through how to account for sales income(…like SEC).

  • avatar

    There’s no year-end sales PR on GM’s English-language China website yet. But the November sales PR shows a YTD total well over 2 million… the Wulings aren’t missing, and have been selling:

    Dunno what Reuters was smoking… or maybe Shanghai GM dropped its own release that got pulled before anyone else saw it?

    • 0 avatar

      …and maybe we should all be clear that the Wulings are produced by a separate joint venture, *not* by Shanghai GM. The Reuters report may well be correct as far as *Shanghai GM* itself goes, but we should be clear that that is just one (albeit the most visible one) of GM’s (three, IIRC) JVs in China.

  • avatar

    in 2010 China had incentives on lower displacement vehicles. I think that pulled ahead sales for those on the fence. I know that many of my employees in China made their auto purchase decisions based on incentives at that time.
    Later the China government dropped the incentives because the market and economy were overheating.
    Chinese consumers know that the economy has been weakening and they will wait for new incentives or hold back due to see what the economy does.

    For the rich business owners they sure have been complaining about labor cost increases the past 6 months. I see the higher end auto market having a temporary pull-back until they “get over it” and realize they are still racking in cash.

  • avatar

    30,000+ sales for Cadillac…that’s quite significant, and I know Cadillac is a bit player in China. I believe all Cadillac’s save the STS/SLS are imported, which makes them subject to high tariffs.

    • 0 avatar

      I know SUV sales are supposed to be going up, I also am seeing quite a few SRX Cadillac’s here in shanghai. I used to see quite a few CTS and the old DTS here, but I don’t see them anymore.

      Still compared to the ubiquitous Buick Lacrosse and all the VW/Audi’s here, Cadillac’s have a tendency to stand out.

      One problem China has is that the average Chinese person doesn’t like to be too different so they all tend to buy the same cars in different cities. Much more so than in the USA.

  • avatar

    The numbers don’t add up. GM said they sold 543,709 Chevrolet’s in 2010.

    How can they claim an 18% increase if they only sold 555,991 units in 2011?

  • avatar

    SGM and Wuling do report their own sales separately. GM China will report total GM China sales next week. GM’s total sales in China is well over 2 million in first 11 months.
    Another good year for sales, no doubt.

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