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GM China JVs report record monthly sales
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The two Chinese joint ventures of bankrupt automobile giant General Motors have reported record monthly sales in May, driven by the brisk demand for minivans and the recovering economy.

Shanghai GM, GM's joint venture with Chinese carmaker SAIC Motor, said vehicle sales jumped more than 50 percent from a year earlier to 56,011 units in May, buoyed by the hot selling Buick brands.

GM's minivan venture, a tie-up with SAIC Motor and Liuzhou Wuling Automobile, sold 100,258 units last month, the first time that a Chinese automaker has crossed the 100,000 monthly sales mark.

SAIC-GM-Wuling has seen booming sales since the beginning of this year as the government halved retail taxes on small vehicles and doled out 5 billion yuan in subsidies to spur automobile sales in rural areas.

The Detroit-based automaker's total vehicles sales in China surged 75 percent from a year earlier to 156,000 vehicles in May, the company said.

This is in stark contrast with the performance in the US, its home market, where sales plunged 50 percent in the first quarter of this year.

Shanghai Volkswagen Co, a joint venture between SAIC and German automaker Volkswagen, said yesterday that it sold 59,754 vehicles in May, up 57 percent from a year earlier, the carmaker said in a statement.

Foreign carmakers are increasingly turning to China this year to offset the declining sales in the North American and European markets.

China's vehicle sales rose 9.4 percent to 3.83 million in the first four months of this year, while sales in the US fell 37 percent to 3 million units.

GM's sales in China in the first five months of the year jumped 33.8 percent from a year earlier, the company said.

Its sales surged 50 percent in April to a monthly record of 151,084 units.

(China Daily June 4, 2009)

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