General Motors (NYSE:GM) posted record sales in China in June to beat competitors including Ford Motor (NYSE:F), but growth has slowed from its earlier eye-popping rate in the country. GM had a record June with 213,495 unit sales, up 10 percent from a year ago, with a boost from the Buick and Wuling brands. It also saw record sales for the first six months of the year, with almost 1.42 million vehicles sold for an increase of 11 percent. Just two years ago, though, GM’s China sales were growing at an annual pace of almost 50 percent.
Robust sales in Russia and other emerging markets have filled some of the gap, the company insists. In the first half of 2012, GM sold a total of about 136,400 vehicles in Russia, up 21 percent from the same period a year ago. “While China is still strong … it is no longer the gravity-defying growth as we have seen in prior years,” Tim Lee, head of GM International Operations, told Reuters. GM is “really leaning into the market” in Russia, Lee added. “I would put Russia in the same breath as China.”
The company has also built a strong presence in the Middle East region, South Korea and Australia, driving overall sales for GM International Operations to about 2 million vehicles in the first half, against 1.8 million sold in the same 2011 period. Those accounted for 40 percent of GM’s overall new vehicle sales.
Overall sales were also up for the first six months of the year for Ford, though passenger vehicle sales fell to a new low in June. Ford China sold 52,440 passenger and commercial vehicles last month, 18 percent more than a year ago. The company’s first-half sales rose to 277,322. Ford and its partner Changan Ford Mazda Automotive also started manufacturing the Focus model in February at the new $490-million CQ2 plant in Chongqing.