General Motors’s global sales fell 2.5% to 2.36 million in the first quarter from a year earlier, primarily reflecting weakness in South America, parts of Asia and a slowing demand for small commercial vehicles in China.

“The quality of GM’s global sales in the key segments and markets in the first quarter is in line with our efforts to drive sustained profitable growth,” said Dan Ammann, GM president. “In China, we continued to grow SUV sales and Cadillac expanded. In the U.S., our disciplined approach to increased retail sales and lower rental fleet resulted in more profitable transactions.”

Last week Volkswagen Group reported first quarter sales of 2.5 million, up 0.8% from the first quarter of 2015. Toyota has not yet reported sales for the quarter ended March 31.

In China, GM and its joint ventures sold 964,000 vehicles in the first quarter, up 0.2%. GM’s total SUV sales in the country more than doubled (up 148%), led by the Buick Envision and Baojun 560. Cadillac deliveries in China rose 6.1%.

North American sales rose 1.2% to 800,000 vehicles. In the U.S., but retail sales in the U.S. increased by 7% to 537,000.

In Europe, sales of Opel and its Vauxhall sister brand increased by 8.4% to more than 300,000 vehicles in the first quarter, outperforming the industry growth of 5%. Opel has received more than 150,000 orders for the new Astra that was recently awarded European “Car of the Year 2016.”

A GM press release didn’t specify the magnitude of the company’s sales decline in South America.

The automaker will report its first-quarter financial results on Thursday.

Contact Greg Gardner: (313) 222-8762 or ggardner@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregGardner12