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GM China sales hit record high

GENERAL Motors Corp said today sales in China rose 38 percent to a record high in the first half as it rode on fast growing rural markets boosted by the government's stimulus packages.

GM sold a record 814,442 units in the first six months, helped by its Wuling minivans, Buick sedans and its new Chevrolet Cruze compact cars, the company said in an e-mailed statement today.

"China's vehicle market has benefited from government's stimulus policies and kept the growth momentum thanks to the booming demands in smaller cities and rural areas," said Kevin Wale, president and managing director of GM China Group.

China has offered subsidies to vehicle buyers in rural areas and cut purchase tax by half on cars with engines of 1.6 liters and below in a successful attempt to revive the flagging industry.

The biggest foreign automaker in China said its minivan business will continue to lead the market with the introduction of favorable policies on small engine vehicles. GM's minivan venture, SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co, posted an increase of 49.9 percent in sales to a record 524,598 vehicles in this period.

"Vehicle sales in China will remain strong in the second half of this year. And the introduction of the Cadillac hybrid sport utility vehicle Escalade as well as new models under the Buick plate will fuel the company's sustainable growth," said Wale.

Within five years, GM expects to double sales to 2 million units and launch more than 30 new models in China, some of which will target niche markets it has not yet explored.

The China Passenger Car Association predicted earlier this week that vehicle sales in the country would grow 17 percent this year from 2008, outpacing the 6.7 percent rise last year.


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