GM's Chinese sales top U.S.

By Chris Isidore, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- China has become the top sales market for General Motors, the iconic American automaker owned by U.S. taxpayers.

Through the first six months of the year GM and its Chinese joint venture partners have sold 1.21 million vehicles in China, the company announced Friday. Its U.S. sales, announced Thursday, came in at 1.08 million.

GM's Chinese auto sales are growing at a blistering pace, up 48.5% over the first half of the year. GM's U.S. sales are also showing improvement -- enough to keep its U.S. plants operating during what would normally be a summer shutdown. But the growth is a far more modest 15% in the first half of the year.

Don Johnson, GM's new vice president of U.S. sales operations, said that given the growth rate in China, it's a pretty good bet it will stay ahead of GM's U.S. sales for the remainder of the year. But he's not overly concerned with losing the title.

"There are some market dynamics beyond one's control," he said. "Personally I think that's a good thing that China's growth is helping GM. Our China operation will always play an important role in our company, but fundamentally we're a U.S. company and will always be a U.S. company."

Last year was the first year that overall auto sales in China surpassed the United States' market. But while GM has the largest share in both markets, its share in the the far more splintered Chinese market is only 13%, compared to its 19% share in the United States.

GM has long been making money in China, despite a lower sales price for the smaller vehicles it sells there. The profits from China have been reinvested to grow its capacity and operations there.

Years of ongoing losses in its home market, and a sharp plunge in sales here starting in 2008, caused the company to file for bankruptcy a year ago. During its reorganization it shed plants, workers, dealerships and much of its debt owed to bondholders. It emerged with the help of a $50 billion bailout from U.S. taxpayers.

Its ability to pay back that bailout will depend upon its planned sale of stock to the public later this year or early next year.

The value of its Chinese operations is expected to be a significant part of the value of that stock when it hits the market. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,982.59 22.02 0.13%
Nasdaq 4,444.91 -4.65 -0.10%
S&P 500 1,978.91 0.57 0.03%
Treasuries 2.49 0.02 0.89%
Data as of 5:51pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 99.02 1.35 1.38%
Facebook Inc 74.92 -0.27 -0.36%
Bank of America Corp... 15.50 -0.09 -0.58%
Dollar Tree Inc 54.87 -0.08 -0.15%
Family Dollar Stores... 75.74 15.08 24.86%
Data as of 4:03pm ET

Sections

Herbalife shares tumble after the maker of nutritional supplements reports earnings that fall short of analysts' estimates. More

New annual report from U.S. government shows the long-term prognosis for Medicare has improved thanks to slower health spending, while the outlook for Social Security remains unchanged. More

Online dating site OkCupid found its users were more likely to have conversations when it told them they were more compatible than in reality. More

Actor-founded This Bar Saves Lives had Hollywood connections, but learned Start-Up 101 the hard way. More

Ali Ewoldt has performed in Broadway musicals and TV shows. Her days consist of auditions, rehearsals, and being on stage in front of hundreds of people at a time. Here are journal entries from a day in her life. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.