GM Fails To Profit From Japan's China Troubles

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Some have quietly or openly been hoping the GM could cash-in on the misery of Japanese brands in China. It’s not happening. Sales across all of GM’s Chinese joint ventures were up a marginal 1.7 percent in September while sales of German marques received a boost.

GM China September 2012Sept ’12YoY9monthsYoYGM China244,2661.7%2,081,81210.0%Shanghai GM120,0103.7%966,8326.7%Chevrolet56,1663.2%509,739Buick62,120-1.8%462,471Cadillac2,585-8.3%21,322SAIC-GM-Wuling119,5100.4%1,070,13113.7%Wuling109,502-2.5%990,190Baojun9,147370.3%?FAW-GM4,581-5.0%41,2491.4%Black: Company data. Blue: TTAC calculation from archive data.

Sales of GM’s Buick brand dropped 1.8 percent, Cadillac sales are down 8.3 percent. Chevrolet, up 3.2 percent did all the heavy lifting. The Sail (18,786 units), and the Cruze, (18,338 units) made up for the bulk of Chevrolet sales.

Sales of Wuling microvans are down 2.5 percent. Sales of GM’s joint venture brand Baojun are up a whopping 370 percent to 9,147 in September. Keep in mind that Baojun sales were not reported for August.

According to Reuters, “GM appears to have missed an opportunity to step into the gap left by Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, whose sales have fallen as a result of an outbreak of anti-Japanese sentiment in China.”

“German and Korean players are the biggest beneficiaries from the woes of the Japanese as they are much more competitive in the SUV segment,” John Zeng, Asia Pacific director for industry consultancy LMC Automotive, told Reuters.

In September, Audi’s sales rose 20 percent to 35,512 vehicles in China, BMW was up 55 percent in September, Mercedes 10 percent. Hyundai sales were up 15 percent in China last month.

Join the conversation
  • Type57SC Type57SC on Oct 08, 2012

    Maybe I'm missing something, but how are Buick and Cadillac down, chevy up 3.2% and yet SGM is up 3.7%. Shouldn't SGM be basically at 0% or YoY?

    • See 1 previous
    • Type57SC Type57SC on Oct 08, 2012

      @Bertel Schmitt I'm just doing the math. If SGM is indeed up 3.7%, then are there other brands that aren't listed under SGM in your table? Because none of Buick, Chevy and Cadillac are up more than 3.7% so their wieghted average can't be 3.7%. By using a weighted average, those three's combined sales would be up 0.3% not 3.7%. Furthermore, after doing the calcs, it is strange that the total of the three brands listed under SGM comes to 120,871, not 120,010. maybe that's close enough for Chinese manufacturing...

  • Daveainchina Daveainchina on Oct 08, 2012

    I can't help but think this is related to the fact that US manufacturers can't sell vehicles in Japan. Is there a large portion of the population in China with similar tastes to the Japanese? I think the new fusion and the ATS are good moves by detroit, let's see if they can keep this up. I also think the XTS is a mistake of a vehicle and Cadillac should never have bothered. Just get the next RWD luxo car in instead.

  • Th009 Th009 on Oct 08, 2012

    The Chinese customer preferences are very much different from those in Japan. And that's on top of the fact that China doesn't have a set of well-developed indigenous brands.