Gasgoo.com (Shanghai) - Shanghai General Motors' sales exceeded those of sister company Shanghai Volkswagen's for the first time in 2005, making it China's top selling joint venture for the year. Its sales continued to grow in 2006 and 2007. In 2008, it experienced a slight sales decrease, falling behind Shanghai VW and FAW-VW in the overall rankings. However, by 2010 it had recovered its number one place, which it has held ever since.
Last year Shanghai VW sold a total of 1.23 million vehicles. Its sales in the first five months of this year totaled 555,300 units. The joint venture's growth rates have far exceeded those of its closest rivals Shanghai VW and FAW-VW. A brief summary of the JV's sales performance over the last decade follows below.
Shanghai GM was established in 1997, 12 years after Shanghai VW and six years after FAW-VW. From 2002 to 2004, the joint venture started making considerable gains on the two rivals. December of 2002 marked the Chinese debut of the Buick Regal, while April of the next year saw the introduction of the Kaiyue Excelle. The JV's sales grew a full 81.6 percent in 2003. Sales growth petered off the next year, increasing 'only' 13.1 percent, still faster than Shanghai VW and FAW-VW.
Then in 2005, Shanghai GM brought the Chevrolet brand to the country. That same year, it also began domestic production of the Cadillac CTS, setting the foundation for the three brand strategy it employs today. In the following years, Shanghai GM brought over the Buick Lacrosse and Park Avenue. In 2006, the JV began importing Saab vehicles as well.
Shanghai GM sold 32,470 vehicles in 2005, surpassing rivals Shanghai VW and FAW-VW, which sold 287,100 and 272,000 vehicles, respectively.
However, Shanghai GM's lack of diversity in its lineup restricted its potential growth. Aside from the Chevy Aveo and Buick Kaiyue Excelle, none of the JV's models made it into the top three lists for individual segment sales. In fact, the joint venture's sales fell 8.3 percent in 2008, finishing behind FAW-VW and Shanghai VW.
In response, the joint venture introduced a plethora of new models over the next two years, including the Chevrolet Cruze and New Sail, as well as updated versions of the Buick Regal and LaCrosse. Its sales grew 58.7 percent in 2009 and 42.1 percent the following year, when it finally broke the one million sales barrier.
Last year, when growth in the Chinese automobile market slowed down to 8.7 percent, Shanghai GM still managed to sustain double digit growth. The JV sold a total of 1.23 million vehicles during the year, 18.5 percent more than the 1.03 million it sold in 2010.
As for this year, Shanghai GM's sales in the first five months of the year totaled 555,300 units, more than any of its competitors. Total sales during the five month period grew under ten percent from last year. However, Shanghai GM has been losing ground in the subcompact segment to rivals Shanghai VW and FAW-VW, which both managed to outsell the JV in April. The JV's sales made a slight rebound in March, with a total of 110,500 vehicles sold, slightly above Shanghai VW's 100,300 sales but still less than FAW-VW's 120,500 sales. Several of its models are still performing strongly, with the Kaiyue Excelle and New Sail still leading their respective segments.