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GM sales slump deepens in China despite discounts

[SHANGHAI] General Motors Co reported a second consecutive month of sales declines in China, its largest market, despite cutting prices on 40 models across its Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac brands.

GM and its China joint ventures sold 252,567 vehicles in May, a drop of 4 per cent from a year earlier, according to a statement on its website. The decline was mainly due to a changeover and phasing out of older models, the company said.

"China's vehicle market continues to grow at a moderate pace," said Matt Tsien, head of GM's China operations. The automaker increased sales by 5.1 per cent in the first five months to 1.47 million vehicles and expects annual growth of about 6 per cent to 8 per cent.

Foreign automakers have come under increasing pressure in China as economic growth slows in the world's largest auto market and local brands gain market share by offering cheaper sport-utility vehicles. Passenger-vehicle sales rose at the slowest pace in five months in April, with most of the expansion coming from local brands.

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GM cut prices in China last month following a decline in deliveries in April. Its joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp announced price cuts of as much as 53,900 yuan (US$8,700).

That didn't prevent Buick and Chevrolet deliveries from declining 13 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively. Cadillac climbed 11 per cent, while sales for GM's low-cost Baojun brand jumped almost fourfold.


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