VW Outsold by GM in China For the First Time in Three Quarters image

GM surpassed VW in China sales for the first time in the past three quarters thanks to increased demand for the Buick vehicles.

VW reported sales in China increased 21% in the first quarter to 770, 000 units, with 5.7% less than GM’s sales reported last week. GM, which plans to keep its lead in the country, has now a head start among all foreign automakers. It’s been nine years since GM has been the leader in China, a market which is expected to surpass 20 million sales for the first time this year.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said that even if VW’s growth during the first quarter surpassed the overall passenger-vehicle market in China, the increase of 11% in March was slower compared with the industry growth.

Last month VW recalled 400,000 vehicles in the region due to defective gearboxes that could cause loss of power. The German automaker did not reveal how much this recall will cost the company, but research firm LMC Automotive estimated losses at around $1,000 per vehicle and the total could reach $600 million.

The fastest growth among foreign automaker was reached by Ford with sales increasing 54% to more than 186,000 units, outselling Toyota in China for the first time. Nissan, Honda and Toyota saw their deliveries drop during the quarter due to the anti-Japan sentiments which still affect sales.