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GM reports record first-quarter sales in China

By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York | China Daily USA | Updated: 2018-04-27 04:17

American auto giant General Motors Co reported record first-quarter sales on Thursday in the mainland.

GM China sold 986,052 units, up nearly 8 percent year-over-year. The growth of almost 20 percent in the quarter included the strong performance of its newest crossover, the Baojun 530, which sold 11,000 units after launching on March 11. Baojun is an entry-level brand under the SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile joint venture.

"GM China should be mostly immune from trade spats with the US because nearly all vehicles and parts are assembled and sourced locally. There could be some issues with low volume exports from China to the US such as the Cadillac CT6 PHEV, but I don't think the impact of a trade war on a few vehicles derails GM China's momentum," Morningstar analyst David Whiston wrote in an email.

GM CFO Chuck Stevens told CNBC that GM has seen no slowdown in China despite threats and counter threats between Beijing and Washington. "We expect to see another strong year when it comes to China," he said.

Results from the company's international operations were bolstered by record joint venture (JV) equity income in China of $600 million. General Motors, with its joint venture partners, plans to introduce 15 new and refreshed models in China this year, sharpening its focus on the strong SUV (sport utility vehicle), MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) and luxury vehicle segments. About half of these products will be SUVs and MPVs.

Overall, General Motors reported net income of $1.05 billion, down 59.8 percent from last year, and $2.6 billion in operating profits in the first quarter of 2018, down 26.6 percent from the same quarter in 2017. Results included a pretax charge of $942 million from restructuring at the company's South Korean operations.

First-quarter revenue of $36.1 billion fell 3.1 percent from the same period in 2017.


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