General Motors Global Sales Edge Up 2 Percent; China Remains GM’s Largest … – Forbes

Posted: Wednesday, April 22, 2015

General Motors General Motors (GM) reported today that its global sales in the first quarter totaled slightly more than 2.4 million vehicles, an increase of nearly 2 percent compared to the same period last year.

The GM sales total of 2,421, 123 trailed the 2.49 million global sales the Volkswagen Group Volkswagen Group reported for the first quarter and is almost certain to put GM in third place behind Toyota Motor Toyota Motor, which has yet to report its worldwide sales for the first three months of this year.

With sales of 961,135 in the January-March period, China continued as GM’s highest-volume market, topping North America’s 789,780 deliveries; the number put GM’s China sales 9 percent ahead of last year’s pace and North American sales were 6 percent better than in the first quarter of 2014.

“The momentum our brands are building in China, the U.S. and Western Europe more than offset difficult conditions in some other large markets like Russia and Brazil,” said GM CEO Mary Barra in a release. “We are in the early days of a very aggressive onslaught of new products and customer-driven innovation,” she added.

There may be “momentum” in Europe, but it has yet to translate to a sales turnaround in the region that has been a lingering thorn in GM’s side: first-quarter sales in Europe were off nearly 14 percent. The 291,582 vehicles GM moved in Europe in the first quarter were a hefty 45,844 less than the same period last year. Meanwhile, GM’s sales in South America slid 15 percent and its sales for the combined Asia-Pacific, Africa and Middle East markets were down 2 percent.

Cadillac was a bright spot in GM's first-quarter global sales performance.

Cadillac was a particularly bright spot in GM’s first-quarter global sales performance.

First-quarter sales results for GM in the key markets of North America and Europe were nearly 180 degrees from Volkwagen’s. The German automaking conglomerate pushed up sales by 4 percent in Europe, but while its overall North American sales also were up by 4 percent, sales slipped more than 1 percent in the still-rocking United States. Despite an enduring surge of buyers to U.S. new-car showrooms, Volkswagen has struggled to participate in the growth and the company’s moribund performance in the U.S. was believed to be a flashpoint in a recent and publicly detailed boardroom power struggle at Volkswagen.

Apart from Europe, GM’s first quarter results showed promise, although VW and Toyota are likely to be the two duking it out for the title of world’s largest auto maker in 2015. Encouragement for GM came in a 2.5-percent sales increase – including a 23-percent hike in China – for Cadillac, which has tussled to keep pace with German luxury-vehicle giants. There also was a plump 14.5-percent hike for the GMC brand and global sales for Buick were up 7.6 percent in the first quarter.

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