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Which Brands Helped GM Boost Its Chinese Sales in 2017?

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GM’s Chinese sales in December 2017

China is one of the key growth markets for General Motors (GM) among all its international business operations. 

In 2017, GM’s China retail sales rose 4.4% YoY (year-over-year) to 4.0 million units. These sales gains were mainly driven by the Chinese markets’ higher demand for luxury vehicles and SUVs (sport utility vehicle). The Chinese government’s vehicle sales tax reduction also helped the auto giant boost its passenger car sales in the country.

In 3Q17, GM’s consolidated sales in China rose 12.3% YoY to 0.98 million vehicle units.

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Brand-wise Chinese sales in December

In December 2017, the Chinese market retail sales (IYK) performances of GM’s key brands were as follows:

  • Sales of General Motors’ key global brand, Chevrolet, rose 6.6% YoY to 79,000 vehicle units in December. This figure was much higher than the brand’s November Chinese retail sales of 61,000 units. In 2017, Chevrolet’s sales witnessed a 4.2% YoY rise.
  • Chinese retail sales of the Baojun brand rose sharply by 36.7% YoY to 138,000 units last month. With this, Baojun’s 2017 retail sales witnessed a solid increase of ~44.8% YoY.
  • About 127,000 units of the Buick brand were sold in December, up 20.3%. Buick’s 2017 sales entered into positive territory and rose 0.2% YoY.
  • In December 2017, Chinese market sales of GM’s luxury vehicle brand Cadillac rose 5% YoY. The brand’s 2017 sales also rose 50.8% to 175,000 units mainly due to high demand for luxury cars in China.
  • Wuling was the only brand of GM’s that reflected a YoY fall in its Chinese sales last month. The brand’s sales fell 7.2% to 131,000 units. With this, Wuling’s retail sales fell 16.3% YoY in 2017.

Over the last few years, legacy global auto giants such as GM, Volkswagen (VLKAY), Toyota Motor (TM), and Ford Motor Company (F) have faced intense competition from local Chinese players. Local Chinese auto companies primarily benefit from the lower cost of operations and labor in their home country. This fact has encouraged global automakers to partner with local Chinese automakers.

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