General Motors and its joint ventures sold more than 4 million vehicles in China for the first time in 2017. Retail sales totaled 4,040,789 units, which was up 4.4% from the previous high in 2016. China was GM’s largest retail market for the sixth consecutive year. The company benefited from record domestic sales by the Cadillac, Buick and Baojun brands.
In 2017, GM added 18 new and refreshed models in China. The improved product mix contributed to robust performance across segments—especially SUVs and luxury vehicles. GM’s SUV sales in China surged 37% last year.
Cadillac, which has had 22 months in a row of double-digit sales growth, posted a sales increase of 51% to 175,489 units in 2017. Leading the way were the XT5 luxury SUV, ATS-L sport sedan and new XTS luxury sedan. Last year, China surpassed the United States as the brand’s largest retail market for the first time.
Buick, GM’s best-selling brand in China, had sales exceeding 1.18 million units. Buick’s leading position in the mainstream passenger car market was strengthened by seven product launches in 2017. They included the GL6 MPV and Excelle GX wagon, which feature GM’s new efficient Ecotec 1.0T and 1.3T turbocharged engines.
Chevrolet continued its resurgence in China, with double-digit growth in the second half of the year. Its sales for 2017 as a whole were up 4.2% to 547,561 units. The Equinox global SUV, a key driver of the brand’s portfolio upgrade since its introduction in April, established itself in one of the most competitive market segments. Sales of the Malibu family, Chevrolet’s flagship sedan, rose 51% and accounted for about 22% of the brand’s deliveries.
Baojun sales in 2017 jumped 45% to 996,629 units. Its strong momentum was led by the 510 small SUV, which was launched in February and became the brand’s best-selling nameplate in 2017. Baojun also benefited from making automatic transmissions available across its mainstream lineup ahead of its entry-level rivals.
Wuling sustained its leadership of the mini-commercial vehicle segment. Deliveries totaled nearly 1.14 million units despite the segment’s contraction. The brand broadened its presence in China’s passenger car market, as the Hong Guang S3 MPV joined the popular Hong Guang family.
GM accelerated its drive to zero emissions with the launch of the Buick Velite 5 extended-range electric vehicle and Baojun E100 electric vehicle in 2017.
The first technical standard designed for the connected vehicle application layer in China, developed by a working group with GM’s active participation, was officially released in September to guide the industry toward a future of zero crashes and zero congestion. Super Cruise driver assist technology reached the final stage of feature verification in China with local partners and will soon be available in the domestic market. GM’s two-year vehicle-sharing pilot program with Shanghai Jiao Tong University concluded, providing valuable learnings for the exploration of new mobility business models.