General Motors and its joint ventures sold 296,939 new vehicles in China in March 2016, down 0.6 percent from March 2015.
The automaker attributes the slight decline to the replacement of several models, such as the Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Malibu, and the continued softening of the mini-commercial vehicle market. However, the SUV and luxury segments remained strong performers due to high consumer demand for vehicles in those segments.
“We are pleased with our continued progress in the industry’s key growth segments,” said GM Executive Vice President and GM China President Matt Tsien. “We will continue to launch exciting products across our brands.”
SUVs continued to be a hot-ticked item during the month, with deliveries increasing 124 percent from the same period a year earlier.
Shanghai GM — The General’s primary Chinese joint venture responsible for Chevrolet, Buick, and Cadillac vehicle sales in the country — reported an increase in Cadillac and Buick sales, but a decrease in Chevrolet sales.
Chevrolet sales in March decreased 19 percent year-over-year to 33,320 units.
GM says that the decline is “due to the model changeover for the Malibu”. The brand launched its new flagship sedan, the Malibu XL, at the end of February. Going forward, Chevy will continue to expand the diversity of its lineup with new models such as an upcoming Malibu XL hybrid and the recently launched LOVA RV urban recreational vehicle.
Buick sales in March increased 2.9 percent year-over-year to 72,886 units.
A sharp increase in demand for the Excelle GT and Envision SUV more than compensated for the model changeover for the LaCrosse. The all-new LaCrosse, launched on March 18th. Speaking of which, Buick Envision sales shot up 85 percent during the month.
Cadillac sales in March increased 14 percent year-over-year to 7,588 units.
Both models are manufactured at SAIC-GM’s new Cadillac plant in Shanghai.
Sales at GM’s other Chinese joint venture — SAIC-GM-Wuling — were as follows:
Baojun delivered a March record 45,002 units in China, an increase of 82 percent year-over-year.
Deliveries of the Baojun 730 MPV and Baojun 560 SUV (the second best-selling model in its segment) both exceeded 20,000 units last month. The brand will continue its momentum with the reveal of the Baojun 310 sub-compact car at Auto China 2016 in Beijing later this month.
Wuling deliveries in the domestic market totaled 138,079 units, which was 11 percent lower than during the previous March. The brand was impacted by continued contraction of the mini-commercial vehicle market.
GM expects China’s vehicle market to increase by 5 million units or more by 2020, representing growth of about 3-5 percent annually.
To capitalize on this trend, GM and its joint ventures plan to roll out more than 60 new and refreshed models in China, including 13 this year, over the next five years. The new product aggressive will have a strong focus on SUVs, MPVs and luxury vehicles, with about 40 percent of the new vehicles set to be launched fitting in those three categories. In addition, Cadillac luxury brand will introduce 10 new and refreshed models during the same timeframe.
About The Figures
Starting with April 2015 sales results, GM began reporting retail sales rather than wholesales in China. All numbers above represent retail sales.