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GM posts fourth China sales drop in five months as slump deepens

General Motors Co has agreed to pay US$900 million and enter a deferred prosecution agreement to end a US criminal investigation into its handling of defective ignition switches in many of its vehicles and which are linked to 124 deaths.

[TOKYO] General Motors said sales in China declined for the fourth time in five months, deepening its slump in the world's largest auto market.

GM and its China joint ventures delivered 248,815 vehicles in August, 4.8 percent fewer than a year earlier, according to a statement on its website on Monday. The company attributed the drop to "softness in the overall vehicle market." The largest US automaker's exposure to the slowdown in China's car sales has contributed to its stock slumping to an almost 2 1/2 year low on Aug 25. GM is among the global automakers that are tempering their forecasts for industywide demand after years of plowing billions of dollars into Chinese factories to keep up with a market that surpassed the US in 2009.

GM in July cut its outlook for annual industrywide sales growth in China to the low single-digit range, from the 6 per cent to 8 per cent range it projected earlier.

While the Buick, Cadillac and Baojun brands all set sales records during the year's first eight months, deliveries fell 7.4 per cent for Chevrolet and 8.1 per cent for Wuling. GM didn't provide August sales figures for the individual brands in its release.


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