GM Rides New Markets to Record Third-Quarter Sales
By Brendan Moore
General Motors had a record-setting third quarter from a global sales perspective, reporting unit sales of 2.38 million passenger vehicles on Thursday. Almost every bit of the increase (and therefore the record) came from sales in developing markets. Third-quarter sales in GM’s Latin America, Africa and Middle East regions were up nearly 22% to 329,400 vehicles. GM reported a 16% increase in its Asia-Pacific region to 327,500 units. Sales in Europe, including Russia, were up 15% at 523,600 vehicles.
Sales in North America declined 6% in the third quarter.
GM, locked in a battle with its arch-rival Toyota for the No. 1 spot in sales among auto makers, has been posting incredible growth in the rest of the world as it continues to get battered in its home market of North America. Toyota is scheduled to release their third-quarter results on Monday, and most analysts expect a very close race.
Toyota’s combined sales in its biggest markets — the U.S., Japan and Europe — fell 3.8 percent in the quarter.
Calculated on an annual basis, GM has held the No. 1 spot among auto makers for 76 consecutive years.
Toyota reported 4.72 million units sold worldwide in the first half of 2007, with GM nipping at their heels with 4.67 million vehicles sold in the same period.
GM’s new results push their sales for the first nine months of the year to 7.06 million units, which is a gain of more than 2% from the same period in 2006.
Besides the previously noted emerging markets, GM is extremely well-positioned in the red-hot Chinese market. Car production in China is growing so rapidly that it is set to overtake the US within a decade as the world’s largest market, and multinationals are flooding in to invest, but GM was there early, and has a commanding lead in China.
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