General Motors China Sales Down 8% in January image

US auto giant General Motors reported its first drop in China sales in six months due to fewer shopping days during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday. The automaker and its joint ventures sold 246,654 vehicles nationwide.

Sales of passenger cars by Shanghai GM–its joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.–totaled 124,073 vehicles, the automaker said in a statement Tuesday.

Buick sales in China were up slightly year on year to 71,056 units. Demand for the original Excelle passenger car lineup – which set an annual sales record for all domestic passenger vehicle models in 2011 and was the top-selling passenger vehicle industry-wide in China in 2011 – was up 1.9 percent on an annual basis, reaching 28,680 units.

Chevrolet sales in China totaled 54,399 units. The brand was once again led by the Cruze sedan, which had sales of 22,711 units, and the New Sail small car family, which generated sales of 18,069 vehicles.
Cadillac sales maintained their growth trend, rising 18.1 percent year on year to 2,987 units in January. Leading the way was the SRX luxury utility vehicle, with sales of 2,132 units.

This year’s holiday extended from Jan. 23 to Jan. 29 and marked the start of the year of the dragon.
GM’s sales in China hit a record 2.55 million units in 2011 despite a broader slowdown in the world’s largest vehicle market as Beijing phased out sales incentives and some cities imposed restrictions on car numbers.