GM's global sales rise four percent in 2013

DETROIT Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:53am EST

A General Motors logo is seen on a vehicle for sale at the GM dealership in Carlsbad, California January 4, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake

A General Motors logo is seen on a vehicle for sale at the GM dealership in Carlsbad, California January 4, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

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DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N) said on Tuesday its global sales grew 4 percent in 2013 on strong demand in the world's two largest auto markets, China and the United States.

Sales of the top U.S. automaker hit 9,714,652 cars and light trucks, an increase of more than 417,000 vehicles, as demand surged 11 percent to a record high in China and rose 7 percent in the United States.

"A healthy auto market in the United States and China, and very successful product launches at all of our brands worldwide drove GM's growth in 2013 and helped us navigate difficult conditions in Europe and parts of South America and Asia," GM Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann said in a statement.

Ammann will become GM's president this week.

German automaker Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) said last week its sales rose 5 percent to more than 9.7 million vehicles, but did not provide details. The company's results include its Scania and MAN brands.

VW has pledged to surpass GM and Japan's Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) to become the world's largest automaker by 2018.

Toyota, the largest automaker in terms of sales through the first nine months of 2013, will report full-year sales later this month.

The Japanese automaker regained the global sales crown in 2012, after slipping to third place behind GM and Volkswagen in 2011, following natural disasters in Japan and Thailand. Previously, Toyota had been on top from 2008 through 2010.

GM said its sales in Brazil inched up 1 percent and in the United Kingdom 11 percent. They fell 11 percent in Russia. Regionally, sales rose 7 percent in both North America and the company's International Operations, which include China and the rest of Asia.

Sales fell 3 percent in Europe and 1 percent in South America, GM said.

Ammann said Sunday at the Detroit auto show that the European market had bottomed out, but it was unclear how fast it would rebound.

GM's Chevrolet brand saw sales rise slightly, while its Opel/Vauxhall brands in Europe were slightly down in the struggling region. However, the European brands gained market share for the first time in 14 years, the Detroit company said. Cadillac sales rose 28 percent and Buick was up 15 percent.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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