GM Sales in China Fell in May

DETROIT (Detroit Free Press/TNS) —

General Motors’ sales in China fell in May for the second straight month, as economic growth continues to slow in the world’s largest auto market.

GM and its joint ventures in China sold 252,567 vehicles in May, down 4 percent from May 2014, according to a press release from the company.

While the launch of new models and the decreased production of the products they replace was a factor, some local brands are competing more effectively at the lower end of the market.

Passenger-vehicle sales increased for the entire country at the slowest rate in five years in April.

For the first five months of 2015, GM and its joint ventures reported retail sales in China of 1,472,186, an increase of 5.1 percent from the year-earlier period.

“China’s vehicle market continues to grow at a moderate pace,” said Matt Tsien, GM China president, in a statement. “We expect about 6 percent to 8 percent annual growth, which is significant given the size of the world’s largest passenger vehicle market.

“We continue to respond to shifting consumer preferences with more new products in the high-growth SUV, MPV and luxury segments, including the Baojun 560 and Buick Envision, as well as the Buick Verano and new Chevrolet Malibu sedans.”

But sales of Buick, GM’s largest brand in China, fell 13 percent to 62,601, despite the strong performance of the new Envision, which sold a monthly record of 11,556 units in May.

Cadillac, which is relatively new to the Chinese market, sold 6,592, up 11 percent from a year earlier.

Chevrolet sales in China fell 2.2 percent to 50,021 units. Its most popular nameplate in May was the Cruze (20,675), an increase of 6.6 percent from May 2014. It was followed by the Sail (13,474), and the Malibu (8,097).

Sales of Baojun, the low-cost brand GM and its partner, Wuling, established in 2010 as an alternative to Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac, did quite well in May, selling 24,095 vehicles, nearly quadrupling the year-earlier level. But sales of the Wuling brand fell 12 percent to 108,998.

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