Among U.S. automakers, no company has as large a market share in China as General Motors. Automotive News reports that GM’s market position in China is very solid, buoyed by a 9.4 percent share of all passenger vehicles sold there over the first 11 months of 2010. That figure reflects a 9 percent increase over sales the previous year.
GM trails only Volkswagen AG
General Motor’s rise in China places it behind only Volkswagen AG in passenger vehicle sales. However, Volkswagen’s lead is large – a 16.6-percent share. The German automaker’s passenger vehicle sales are spread out among the Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi brands.
General Motors’ sales numbers in China include over 1 million Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac units sold through November. That reflects a 49 percent increase over 2009, and has executives at GM China hopeful that its market share will continue to grow in China throughout 2011.
Set a New Sail for market share
Volkswagen does not dominate at all levels of the passenger vehicle market. General Motors has carved its niche in the subcompact and small commercial vehicle market. Through GM China and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center, General Motors has become the first automaker in the world to locally produce inexpensive cars for less affluent consumers of China’s interior.
GM’s flagship model in this market is the Chevrolet New Sail. Sales of the vehicle began in January 2010, with prices starting at around $9,066. In November, the New Sail was China’s top-selling subcompact at more than 16,000 sales. Such success has spurred the competition to the chase, as both Honda and Peugeot have low-priced subcompacts in the works for the Chinese market.
Commercial vehicles are also big business
General Motors has also been successful in recent years in China’s small commercial vehicle market. In 2002, GM China partnered with SAIC and Liuzhou Wuling Automotive Co. The partnership receives technological and managerial support from General Motors as parent company, and it is that backing that has enabled GM to shoot to the top of micro commercial vehicle sales with 1 million minivans and micro trucks sold last year through November.