GM’s China sales pass U.S. for first time

General Motors sold more cars and trucks in China last year than it did in the U.S., for the first time in the company’s 102-year history.

Despite GM’s growth in China, Toyota Motor held onto the title of world’s largest automaker. The Japanese company reported 8.42 million sales worldwide last year. That’s 30,000 more than GM’s 8.39 million.

GM said today that it sold 2.35 million vehicles in fast-growing China, about 136,000 more than it sold in the U.S., with China sales surging 29% as an expanding middle class gained wealth. Sales in the U.S., including heavy-duty vehicles, rose 6.3% as GM continued to rebound from its 2009 stay in bankruptcy protection.

GM expects its sales growth to continue, and industry analysts say it may once again dethrone Toyota as the global sales leader this year. GM will announce today that it’s adding a third shift to a pickup truck assembly plant in Flint to meet an expected increase in demand as the U.S. economic recovery continues.

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