GM says third-quarter global sales up 2%

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. said Wednesday that its third-quarter sales of nearly 2.45 million vehicles globally rose 2 percent compared to the same period a year ago, marking the best third quarter of sales since 1980.

The Detroit automaker said sales through the first nine months of 2014 totaled 7.37 million, up 2 percent from the same time a year earlier.

The figure puts GM slightly behind Volkswagen AG for leading global sales through September. Last week, Volkswagen AG said it sold 7.4 million vehicles globally through the third quarter. But the global sales crown likely will fall to Toyota Motor Corp., which has not yet released its sales figures through the third quarter.

“GM delivered its best third-quarter global sales in 34 years thanks to solid growth in the United States and China, and steady improvement in Opel’s market share,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. “We have launches now under way, including the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon in North America, the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa in Europe, and the Buick Envision and Cadillac ATS-L in China, that will keep our momentum going.”

U.S. sales in the third quarter rose 7.9 percent and in China jumped 14.1 percent. The two countries are GM’s largest sales markets. The company said it expects in 2014 to surpass its record 3.16 million sales in China, which was set last year. Sales in China are up 11.6 percent to 2.58 million through September.

Sales in Brazil, one of GM’s top five sales markets, fell 18.8 percent in the third quarter and are down 12.2 percent through September this year. Sales in the United Kingdom fell 3.1 percent in the third quarter but are up 1.4 percent year-to-date through September, while sales in Canada soared 20.7 percent in the third quarter and are up 5.2 percent through the first nine months this year.

Sales for GM’s largest brand, Chevrolet, are down 5 percent, or more than 187,000 vehicles year-to-date, and fell 4.7 percent in the third quarter. But the company has seen growth in other brand sales through the first nine months of the year, with Opel/Vauxhall brand sales jumping 3 percent, Buick up 10.5 percent globally and Cadillac up 8.8 percent globally. Cadillac sales are down in the U.S. year-to-date, but are up worldwide with increased demand in China where Cadillac sales have soared 63 percent so far this year.

Sales in Europe fell 17.2 percent in the third quarter and are down 9.5 percent this year through September. The company has announced plans to stop selling most Chevrolet vehicles in Europe by the end of 2015.

Whiles sales overall are down in Europe, GM said Opel/Vauxhall in Europe grew market share in 11 European countries through September this year. In Germany, the brand had market share of 7 percent, up 0.3 percentage points.

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