Cadillac, with market-specific cars and a rapidly expanding dealer network, is increasingly a China-reliant GM luxury brand.
In four consecutive months, from April 2017 through July 2017, GM’s Cadillac division sold more new vehicles in China than in its U.S. home market. Indeed, so far this year, 48 percent of the Cadillacs sold around the world were sold in China. Thank a massive 67-percent year-over-year sales gain, stirred up by very healthy Chinese demand for the XT5.
But in August, for the first time since March, Cadillac’s U.S. dealer network reasserted its collective claim as the rightful nation for Cadillac sales success. That’s correct: Cadillac sold more vehicles in the United States in August 2017 than in China.
Albeit not many more.
Expand your horizons. See the forest, not just the trees. Look west of the Pacific Coast Highway.
Cadillac sales plunged in the United States in July 2017, dropping by more than a fifth to only 11,227 units. That 22-percent dive was the worst for Cadillac’s U.S. operations since April of last year. The 11,227-sale result represented a five-month low for Cadillac in the United States and the lowest-volume since 2011.
But Cadillac is increasingly a less U.S.-centric automotive brand. Just three short years ago, two-thirds of Cadillac’s volume was produced in its American home market. Fast forward to July 2017 and the majority of Cadillac’s volume isn’t produced in the market where it’s suffering from such dwindling demand.
Rather, Cadillac generates the bulk of its global volume outside of America, where Cadillac demand is rapidly increasing.
Buick is all about China, where the brand claims more than 5 percent market share.
Buick’s achievements in the United States, once storied, are now not nearly so impressive. Buick’s market share in America today is half what it was in 2002, after volume declined in eight of 14 years, tumbling from more than 430,000 sales 14 years ago to 223,055 last year.
This is part of the Buick story we told you yesterday. In touting record global sales as one of the planet’s fastest-growing volume brands, Buick’s General Motors parent company also made clear that the brand is achieving rapidly increased rates of sales because of the Chinese market, even though U.S. sales are declining, albeit marginally.
Following our managing editor’s press of the publish button, we almost immediately heard from Buick.
As if we needed more evidence that North America is an increasingly unimportant component of Buick’s future plans — Buick is discontinuing the Verano, its most popular car model in the U.S. and the most popular Buick overall in Canada — GM revealed that Buick added more Chinese sales between January and June than the whole U.S. Buick division managed in toto.
For the first time in nine years Volkswagen AG will likely sell more vehicles in China than General Motors, retaking the crown for the biggest foreign automaker selling cars in Chian, the world’s biggest automotive market. Both companies will sell more than 3 million cars and light trucks by the end of the year. Through November, VW is ahead by about 70,000 vehicles at 2.96 million, 17% ahead of 2012 figures. Competition is fierce between the two companies, who have planned to spend a combined $36 billion on operations in China in the near future. Last month VW said that it will be investing $25 billion over the next five years on expansion in China.
According the the China Automobile Dealers Association, despite efforts by car makers to reduce inventories, Chinese domestic brand dealers still had 49 days worth of supply in June, a figure that would be considered decent in North America, where two months is the norm. But it’s a matter of concern in China, where normal dealer inventories are 24 to 36 days. That figure is an improvement over the 61 days of supply at the end of May.