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GM China sales fall 3.9% in September

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. said Monday that sales for the automaker and its joint ventures fell 3.9 percent in September in China to 295,236 vehicles.

The carmaker’s retail sales through the first nine months of the year in China are up 1.6 percent to a record 2.49 million vehicles. GM said demand for SUVs, multi-purpose vehicles and luxury vehicles helped to offset a slowdown in the Chinese sales market.

Sales also were up 18.7 percent when compared to August.

“GM’s product mix has been improving with recently launched models. This has helped us meet consumers’ evolving and diversifying needs,” GM China President Matt Tsien said in a statement. “We anticipate growth in the SUV, MPV and luxury segments representing about 80 percent of overall growth in the market over the next several years. GM is well-positioned to participate in this growth.”

GM said Cadillac brand sales jumped 14.7 percent last month from September 2014. The automaker did not break out other brand sales for September in its news release.

Through the first nine months this year, GM said Buick sales are up 4 percent year-over-year to a record 669,568 vehicles and Baojun sales soared 235.5 percent to a record 270,488 vehicles. Chevy sales are down 9 percent to 442,277 vehicles in the first nine months this year compared to 2014, and Wuling brand sales also are down 8.7 percent to 1.05 million sales.

Earlier this month, GM executives say they remain optimistic about China, which is the company’s largest sales market.

The company predicts industry growth will range from 3 percent to 5 percent through 2020. GM plans to introduce 26 new or refreshed vehicles in China by the end of the decade; 10 will be alternative propulsion vehicles.

Sales also could get a boost in the final quarter of the year thanks to the Chinese government trimming taxes on vehicle purchases. GM has 30 vehicles that are eligible for a 50 percent vehicle purchase tax cut through the end of the year. The government also is trimming a tax levied on new vehicles and light vans with certain engines.

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