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GM Global Sales Rose 0.5% in Quarter to Trail Volkswagen

GM Headquarters - GM Global Sales Rose 0.5% in Quarter to Trail Volkswagen

By Tim Higgins

General Motors said its global auto sales rose 0.5 percent to 2.51 million during the second quarter as the largest U.S. automaker’s tally of vehicle recalls in North America reached a record.

GM sold 4.92 million cars and trucks during the first six months, a 1.4 percent gain from a year earlier, the Detroit-based automaker said today in an e-mailed statement. The second-quarter total compares with 2.49 million in the same period of 2013, according to GM’s figures. Increasing deliveries in China and U.S. helped offset declines in Europe, South America and other foreign markets.

“GM did well in the world’s two largest and most profitable vehicle markets and that helped us grow despite very challenging market conditions in parts of South America, Asia and Eastern Europe,” Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said in the statement.

Consumer interest in GM vehicles has held up even as Barra faces investigations over the company’s slow recall of 2.59 million small cars for faulty ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths. GM’s U.S sales rose 6.7 percent during the second quarter, helping fuel the company’s North America deliveries’ 5.6 percent gain, the company said.

Since those recalls began in February, GM has stepped up its review of potential safety issues, flagging almost 29 million vehicles in North America this year. GM, the world’s biggest car company by vehicle sales in 2011, slipped to third place last year behind Toyota and Volkswagen.

Including VW’s MAN SE and Scania AB heavy-truck units, the German automaker edged out GM as the second-largest automaker with 9.73 million deliveries last year. GM sold 9.71 million vehicles.

VW said this month that global sales, excluding trucks, increased 5.9 percent to 4.97 million in the first half. In China, the company outsold GM during the same period, keeping it on track to extend its reign as the best-selling foreign car company in the world’s biggest vehicle market.

VW’s sales in China, including Hong Kong, rose 18 percent to more than 1.8 million vehicles, the company said on July 11. That compares with GM’s 1.73 million units, an 11 percent increase. In 2013, the German automaker outsold GM in China for the first time in nine years.

China is the biggest market for both VW and GM and key to the three-way race with Toyota for the global sales crown. To win more sales from the projected 1 billion drivers within a decade, VW Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn this month announced the company will build two more plants in China, increasing its total investment to more than €20 billion ($27 billion).

Toyota and VW have forecast deliveries at their respective companies will reach 10 million this year.

GM’s Europe sales slipped 11 percent to 336,394 during the quarter with deliveries in Germany declining 4.4 percent, the automaker said. In South America, GM sales fell 18 percent during the quarter from a year earlier as deliveries in Brazil declined 13 percent. Worldwide, GM’s Chevrolet brand slid 5.2 percent in the second quarter while the Cadillac brand grew the fastest with a 14 percent gain.