GM's auto and SUV sales in China up a surprising 54% in 1st quarter

April 19, 2003|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

SHANGHAI, China - General Motors Corp., the world's biggest automaker, said yesterday that first-quarter sales in China of cars and sport utility vehicles rose by a more-than-expected 54 percent as more people and companies in the world's fastest-growing major economy could afford to buy new vehicles.

The maker of Buick cars and Chevrolet sport utility vehicles sold 84,000 vehicles in China in the three months that ended March 31, said Philip Murtaugh, chairman of the company's operations in China.

General Motors said China's automotive industry may mark another year of strong sales and increased production. Vehicle sales in China, the world's fastest-growing auto market, are forecast to rise by one-fourth this year to 1.45 million units, according to the State Information Center, a government think tank.

Sales in "2003 will be a lot stronger than anybody had anticipated," Murtaugh said.

"We are seeing phenomenal growth."

In addition to GM, Volkswagen AG, Toyota Motor Corp., Ford Motor Co. and a dozen other foreign vehicle makers operate assembly plants in China.

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