General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) said Tuesday it sold 3.16 million vehicles in China through its joint ventures, an 11.4 percent increase from 2012, on strong demand for Buicks and Chevrolets, especially the Sail and Cruze compacts.
North America’s largest automaker is in head-to-head competition with Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest automaker. Volkswagen will release its China sales figures on Saturday, and it is expected to knock GM off the throne as the largest foreign automaker in China.
Shanghai GM, the GM-SAIC joint venture that makes Buicks, Cadillacs, Chevrolets and Opels for the domestic market, sold nearly 48 percent of the total volume, 1.51 million units. SAIC is China’s largest domestic auto manufacturer.
Buick brand sales increased 15.7 percent, to 809,918 units, on robust demand for the Excelle brand of compact cars. Chinese buyers bought 652,077 Chevrolets, most notably the Cruze and Sail compacts. Sales of the Chevy Malibu mid-sized sedan nearly doubled, to 100,141 units.
SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile, GM’s joint venture with SAIC and Liuzhou Wuling Motors Co. Ltd., sold nearly 47 percent of the total volume, or 1.48 million units. This venture makes the Baojun 630 four-door sedan, the Chevrolet Lechi (Spark) and a line of Wuling vans. The Baojun brand broke a sales record with 100,498 units.