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General Motors China sales up 34.4% in February

SHANGHAI, March 2, 2011 – General Motors said Wednesday that its sales in China, the world\’s largest car market, jumped 34.4 percent year-on-year in February to set a new record for the month.

The US auto giant said in a statement that with its Chinese joint ventures it sold 184,498 vehicles in the country last month, although this was well below the all-time monthly high of 268,071 vehicles set in January.

Auto sales are typically slower in February due to China\’s week-long Lunar New Year holiday.

GM set its previous February record for sales in China last year, when it sold 174,306 vehicles, up 51 percent from the previous year.

China\’s booming market has become increasingly important to GM as demand weakens in the United States. China, where GM\’s international operations are now based, overtook the United States as the world\’s biggest auto market in 2009.

GM and its joint ventures sold a record 452,570 vehicles in China in the first two months of 2011 — representing a 15 percent increase from the same period last year, the carmaker said.

GM\’s sales in China last year increased 28.8 percent year-on-year to an annual record of 2.35 million vehicles, outstripping sales in the United States.

Auto sales in China rose more than 32 percent in 2010 to 18.06 million units, according to the semi-official China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

CAAM forecast sales and production would grow at a steadier pace this year, by 10-15 percent, after purchase taxes for small cars rose to 10 percent and Beijing slashed the number of new registrations allowed in the capital.

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GM has several joint ventures in China including Shanghai General Motors, a partnership with China\’s largest auto maker SAIC Motor.

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