General Motors Is Back On Top In China

It has so far been a great year for General Motors (NYSE:GM) (all four months of it). The automaker is showing promise across the board with consistently growing sales figures, reinvented and reinvigorated products, and an enviable optimism for the years ahead. In spite of a stagnant European economy, GM has reaffirmed its commitment to the region, something it can do as a result of strong performance in the United States, and perhaps just as importantly in China, where the automaker outsold Volkswagen AG (VLKAY.PK) for the first time in three quarters.

China is regarded as the world’s largest automotive market. Increasing wages and living standards have attracted numerous automakers to the region, which is forecast to experience explosive growth as more citizens in the most-populated country achieve means of automotive ownership. This year, sales in China are set to top 20 million units.

Strong demand for GM’s Buick line helped lift the automaker over its German competitor. Volkswagen (which counts Hong Kong and Macau as apart of China, GM does not) sold 770,000 units in the first quarter, 5.7 percent less than GM reported last week. GM, meanwhile, sold 816,373 units, a 9.6 percent increase over the same quarter of 2012.

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Not only were the sales results great news for the company, but the boasting rights it earned for outselling Europe’s largest car maker in such a crucial market reflect well on GM, which has had a lot to prove after taking a substantial chunk of bailout money when the company nearly went bankrupt in 2008.

As if that wasn’t enough, GM is predicting a 20 percent gain in Africa, and is hoping to sell 2 million units over the next two years. It sold 180,000 units in the continent last year, giving it a 10 percent stake in the market. The company still falls behind Toyota (NYSE:TM), which sold 237,000 vehicles during the same period.

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