Russia is slowly becoming “the new China” for General Motors image

General Motors has been enjoying steady sales growth in emerging markets, especially in countries such as Russia.

In the first six months of this year, growth in these countries compensated the slowdown in China’s auto market for GM. The US carmaker sold 136,400 vehicles in Russia in the first half of 2012, up 21 percent from a year earlier. Although Russian results can’t compare with GM’s 1.4 million sales in China in the same period, the sales growth rate for GM Russia was twice faster than China.

“While China is still strong, it is no longer the gravity-defying growth as we have seen in prior years,” Tim Lee, head of GM International Operations, was quoted as saying by Reuters. Russian sales boom is fueled by middle-class consumers, which have helped GM remain profitable despite difficulties in India and Southeast Asia.

Lee went on to say that GM’s reputation is growing in Russia. „I would put Russia in the same breath as China,” the executive added. Helped by strong results in the Middle East, South Korea and Australia, GM International Operations reported sales of about 2 million units in the first half of the year, 0.2 million more that the year before. These results make up around 40 percent of GM’s worldwide overall new sales.