You Saw It Coming: GM's China Sales Wayyyyyyyyy Up! Except For ....

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
you saw it coming gm s china sales wayyyyyyyyy up except for

Needs a lift

Three days ago, I showed you how to become a clairvoyant without even trying, or just by reading TTAC. If you followed my simple method of predicting the Chinese market in January and February, you could now collect on your first bet. GM, our patent-pending sales oracle for the Chinese market reports humongous sales, and an “all-time record month in China.” Is that the big turn-around?

Forgetting to say what the nice man from Toyota had told Reuters, namely that January numbers are complete off-kilter due to the Chinese New Year, GM celebrates a new record. After Toyota had announced a 23.5 percent January gain in China, only months after one did risk life and car when caught with a Japanese car on China’s streets, GM announced a 26 percent increase for January.

This was doubly easy. First, because of the CNY-effect, explained on Saturday. And second, because January 2011 (again, Chinese New Year at work) was so bad that GM had to employ is best spinmeisters to hide it. Compared with that month, all car sales news coming from China will be glorious, trust me. Just like February will be awful, trust me.

GM China January 2013Jan’13YoYGM China310,76526.0%Shanghai GM154,22024.3%Buick86,50921.7%Chevrolet66,14121.6%Cadillac1,570-47.4%SAIC-GM-Wuling151,81926.6%Wuling144,80135.9%Baojun7,018FAW-GM4,49084.5%Black: GM data. Blue: Calculated from historical GM data

Despite generous help from the Chinese calendar, not everything is rosy. Cadillac sales are half of what they were in that horrible January 2012, a fact that GM tries to conceal. For each brand GM gives us a positive percentage number down to one decimal. For Cadillac, we are told: ”Cadillac luxury vehicle sales in China totaled 1,570 units in January.” There is no comparison. Someone who has been covering GM for a while knows: No percentage given, that means it’s a disaster. It is, Cadillac sales in China are down 47.4 percent.

Unimaginable what the GM press release will look like when the numbers for a (percentage-wise) truly horrible February will be announced next month. I recommend extending the Chinese New Year vacation.

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  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Feb 05, 2013

    Much of this may have to do with the import tariffs, I thought I read something on TTAC about the majority of volume being SRX which of course is assembled in Mexico. I don't think it would hurt though to build good old American style Cadillacs again, if only for Chinese consumption. I would imagine the potential Cadillac buyer in China can equally afford actual BMWs (or BMW style sport sedans), why buy the 'Cadillac' copy? Does 'Cadillac' even offer an acceptable LWB variant, which seem to be all the rage in China, of the models they do offer?

    • See 8 previous
    • Sunridge place Sunridge place on Feb 07, 2013

      @sunridge place So, I hit this story again to see if Bertel replied to my comment (which I didn't expect)as I typically don't want my email box hit with inbound emails for every comment on a thread and I re-read the article. Bertel. As a dinner guest, I might add something else after reading your post and serving you a nice dessert. Your criticism of GM bragging about an 'all-time record' month without acknowledging the year over year flaw when considering the Chinese New Year is yet another flaw in your analysis. GM wasn't bragging about an all-time year over year lift (which would have been flawed.) They sold more vehicles in their group sales in China than any month EVER. They were NOT ignoring a year over year trend. Why did you imply that such a statement was deceptive due to a comparison against a previous year result that was impacted by a Chinese New Year slowdown? In a growing market, this sort of target (all time sales high) shouldn't be a surprise. But, your statement: 'Forgetting to say what the nice man from Toyota had told Reuters, namely that January numbers are complete off-kilter due to the Chinese New Year, GM celebrates a new record. ' They celebrated an all-time group sales record for a month...any month...ever in China. Not a Jan 2012 vs Jan 2013 comparison. One could easily argue that your twisting of this fact for your own purposes is worse than a GM media statement ignoring a year over year comparison of a brand representing 1% of volume.

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Feb 06, 2013

    I wonder how a Chinese-built 1975 Fleetwood Talisman clone would do?

  • ToolGuy Nice writeup.
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