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GM sales extend robust patch
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GM China sales hit 959,035 units from January to July this year.[China Daily]

General Motors Co said Monday that its China sales hit 144,593 units in July, an increase of 77.7 percent over the year-ago period and the best July ever, extending an uninterrupted series of single month sales records that started in January.

For the first seven months as a whole, GM China and its joint ventures sold 959,035 vehicles, up 42.8 percent compared to the same period last year.

"The GM family has been among the major beneficiaries of the sales momentum in China that began building in February," said Kevin Wale, president and managing director of GM China. "We have additional new products on their way in the coming months that will enable us to keep up with the growing demand for high-quality personal transportation."

As a new GM emerged from bankruptcy last month, the automaker has given up all its other regional operations and established GM International Operations (GMIO) in Shanghai. This center is coordinating operations in varied regions of the world outside North America, demonstrating the all-important plans GM has for the Chinese market.

"It (GMIO) is based in Shanghai since China and the US are two crucial markets to our new company," said Wale. "It is also a sign of the importance of China and shows our great confidence in the long-term development of the country."

GM's harvest in China benefited from the Chinese government's stimulus package, which supports the purchase of small cars and minivans.

Wale has raised the industry outlook for whole-year sales to between 10.4 and 10.5 million units, up about 15 percent from 2008.

GM's major rival Volkswagen AG registered a 22.7-percent year-on-year sales growth in the first half in China, with more than 650,000 cars sold.

The German automaker's China President and CEO Winfried Vahland predicted that more than 7 million passenger cars would be sold in the country this year, up from nearly 6.1 million in 2008.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers has also raised its annual sales forecast to 11 million, from 10.2 million vehicles (including passenger car sales) after the stimulus measures boosted demand by 36.5 percent in June. For the first half of 2009, Chinese vehicle sales were up 17.7 percent, to 6.1 million.

US sales are expected to range between 10 million and 11 million vehicles this year.

(China Daily August 4, 2009)

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