A worker inspects a General Motors Co vehicle on the assembly line at the Shanghai GM plant. [Photo / Bloomberg]
SHANGHAI - General Motors Co, the biggest overseas automaker in China, reported slower sales growth last month in the world's biggest auto market as deliveries by its local minivan venture declined.
GM sold 184,498 vehicles in China last month, the Detroit-based company said in a statement on Wednesday. Deliveries rose 5.8 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 22 percent increase in January, when sales reached a record 268,071 vehicles.
Industrywide car sales grew at a slower pace after China reinstated a 10 percent sales-tax on small cars this year and phased out subsidies for vehicle trade-ins in rural areas. GM said sales by SAIC-GM-Wuling Automotive Co, its Chinese minivan venture, totaled 101,133 vehicles last month, compared with 110,315 units reported by the automaker a year earlier.
The carmaker's venture with SAIC Motor Corp boosted sales 34 percent to 78,207 units amid strong demand for its Buick models, the statement said.
GM makes Buick Excelle cars and Chevrolet Sail compacts with SAIC. The company will boost investment in China and introduce new models over the next two years, Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson said last month.
GM's China deliveries rose 29 percent to 2.35 million vehicles last year, helping the company narrow the gap in global sales with Toyota Motor Corp, the world's largest automaker. GM last month estimated that it had a 14.7 percent market share in China.
China's vehicle sales jumped 32 percent in 2010 as stimulus measures and economic growth helped the nation stay the world's largest auto market for a second year.
Industrywide auto sales growth slowed in January to 16 percent. The total for February has yet to be announced.
The company also said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday that Terry Johnsson, vice-president of General Motors Co's passenger car venture, has resigned "to pursue other career opportunities".
A replacement for Johnsson, also a vice-president of marketing for GM's China operations, will be announced in due course, it said.