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GM China sales decline again in 2020

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

A strong pandemic rebound couldn't push General Motors Co. to sales growth in China last year. 

The automaker said Wednesday it sold 2.9 million vehicles in 2020 in the world's largest auto market, down 6.2% from 2019. The drop marked the third annual sales decline in China for GM. GM on Tuesday reported its U.S. sales, also dampened by the pandemic, fell 11.8% from 2019. 

General Motors sold 2.9 million vehicles in 2020 in China, the world's largest auto market, down 6.2% from 2019.

China's auto industry was hammered in the first half of the year as the coronavirus made its spread across the country, leading to shutdowns and weakened sales. GM sold less than 462,000 vehicles in China during the first three months of 2020.

By comparison, GM — the second largest foreign automaker in China — sold 954,325 vehicles in China during the fourth quarter for a 14% increase. The automaker reported a 12% increase in the third quarter.

"In spite of the unprecedented challenges that 2020 brought, we focused on keeping our people safe, enhancing our product lineup with launches that would satisfy our customers’ needs, and accelerating our move toward an all-electric future,” Julian Blissett, GM executive vice president and president of GM China, said in a statement. "We expect China’s vehicle market to continue growing in the long term and have a positive outlook on 2021.”

In China, Cadillac posted record sales of over 230,000 units in 2020, a 7.9% increase. Buick sales topped 885,000 units, a 4.1% increase. The Wuling brand also saw a sales increase of 8.8% to more than 1,092,000 deliveries.

Chevrolet saw a 30% decrease in sales from last year with 291,000 deliveries. The Baojun brand in China also struggled with 402,000 sales, a 34% drop.

GM said sales of new energy vehicles, or NEVs, in China grew four-fold in 2020 from a year earlier. In the next five years, more than 40% of GM’s new launches in China will be NEVs that will be supported by GM's Ultium battery platform. 

Ford Motor Co. will release its China sales next week.

Twitter: @bykaleahall