GM and its joint ventures in China announced that their domestic sales in China jumped 66.9% in 2009 to a record 1,826,424 units. The GM China family achieved an estimated market share of 13.4%—an improvement of 1.3 percentage points from the end of 2008.
The strong year-end results were enabled in part because of record December sales by GM’s Shanghai GM and SAIC-GM-Wuling joint ventures and the addition of sales from its new FAW-GM joint venture.
Domestic sales by Shanghai GM rose 63.3% to 727,620 units in 2009. The passenger car joint venture was once again led by its original brand, Buick, which experienced sales growth of 59.6% year on year to 447,011 units. The Excelle, which sold 241,109 units, remained the brand’s bestseller for the sixth consecutive year. Further contributing to the resurgence of Buick in China were the New Regal, which generated sales of 79,930 units, and the new LaCROSSE, which generated sales of 43,429 units in just six months on the market.
Chevrolet sales in China likewise experienced strong growth, with 332,774 units sold—an increase of 67.1% from 2008. The Cruze, GM’s new global compact car, posted sales of 92,190 units despite being on the market only nine months. In addition, the Lova had sales of 118,935 units.
In 2009, SAIC-GM-Wuling became the first automaker in China to sell more than 1 million vehicles in a year, increasing its domestic sales by 63.9% to 1,061,213 units. With sales of 596,630 units, the Wuling Sunshine set a Chinese industry record for annual sales by a single model.
FAW-GM sold 34,510 light commercial vehicles in the four months after its establishment in August 2009 and began construction of a new assembly plant in Ha’erbin.
In 2009, as part of GM’s aggressive product launch strategy, GM and its joint ventures in China introduced several new and upgraded models, including the new Buick LaCROSSE and New Regal turbo series; the Chevrolet Cruze; and the new Cadillac SLS and SRX. In addition, GM continued to bring to China its latest technology such as the new 1.2-liter engine in the Chevrolet Spark and ECOTEC 1.6-liter DVVT engine in the Chevrolet Cruze. Both powertrains made the list of the 10 best engines in China for 2009.
Among the developments for GM in China in 2009 were:
Shanghai OnStar initiated in-vehicle safety, security and communication services and logged its first subscriber in China on 20 December.
GM launched its China Science Lab and PATAC opened its new vehicle safety lab.
Shanghai GM broke ground on China’s largest proving ground in Anhui province.
SAIC-GM-Wuling opened a new engine plant in Qingdao.
In the middle of the year, GM launched an important new partnership with FAW, FAW-GM, which has given GM a presence in the light commercial vehicle segment. In December, GM and SAIC Motor announced the establishment of a new 50-50 joint venture investment company, General Motors SAIC Investment Ltd., to capture business opportunities in Asia’s emerging markets.