GM sets global sales record of 9.8M vehicles in 2015

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. said Thursday it had record sales in 2015 of 9.84 million vehicles globally, up 0.2 percent from a previous record set the year before. It marked the company’s third straight year of record sales.

While the Detroit automaker said its sales led competitors in North America, South America and China last year, it likely falls short of the global sales crown. Volkswagen AG, embroiled in a global emissions cheating scandal, reported its global sales fell 2 percent last year to 9.93 million vehicles. Toyota Motor Corp. is expected to be the sales leader, as sales for the Japanese automaker are expected to top 10 million. It will release sales Feb. 5.

A year ago, GM reported its global sales for 2014 totaled 9.92 million, up more than 2 percent from 2013. Last year, the automaker changed the way it reports sales figures in China, from wholesale deliveries to retail sales, which accounted for the sales differences between the two years.

GM said sales in North America totaled 3.61 million vehicles, up 5.9 percent from 2014 and sales in China, GM’s largest market, rose 5.2 percent to a record 3.61 million last year. Sales in Europe fell 6.4 percent to nearly 1.18 million and sales in the struggling South America region fell 26.5 percent to 645,217. GM International sales also fell 5.2 percent to 794,637. GM said its fourth quarter global sales rose 4.4 percent to nearly 2.69 million.

“GM continued to grow in 2015 as our focus on the customer and successful new vehicle launches more than offset the challenging conditions in South America and the curtailment of our presence in certain markets such as Russia,” GM President Dan Ammann said in a statement.

Its top five markets last year were: China; the U.S., where sales rose 5 percent to nearly 3.1 million in a record sales environment for the U.S. auto industry; Brazil, which tallied 388,025 sales; the United Kingdom at 311,652 sales and Canada, with 263,336 sales.

For the year, sales for GM’s largest global brand, Chevrolet, fell 6.9 percent to 4.42 million vehicles. Buick brand sales set a record at 1.23 million, up 8.7 percent and GMC and Cadillac brands also posted global sales gains.

GM said the Opel/Vauxhall brands in Europe saw sales increase 3.4 percent to 1.13 million, the brands best results in four years. GM said its share of the European sales market also increased for the third straight year to nearly 6 percent. The automaker, which has ceased sales of most Chevrolets in Europe to focus on Opel/Vauxhall brands, is working to break even in Europe and has said it expects to be profitable there in 2016. The company also has stopped selling most of its vehicles in Russia.

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