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 17,164.95 -251.90 -1.45%
Nasdaq 4,635.24 -48.17 -1.03%
S&P 500 1,994.99 -26.26 -1.30%
Treasuries 1.68 -0.08 -4.34%
Data as of 6:47pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.15 -0.28 -1.81%
Apple Inc 117.16 -1.74 -1.46%
Microsoft Corp 40.40 -1.61 -3.83%
AT&T Inc 32.92 -0.04 -0.12%
General Electric Co 23.89 -0.19 -0.79%
Data as of Jan 30

Sections

After a terrible month for stocks, a star analyst says look to biotech, consumer and manufacturing companies. More

Many in the middle class, particularly the single and the elderly, won't see any tax breaks under Obama's MIddle Class Economics plan More

Here's where Seahawks and Patriots fans eat, shop, and play, according to data from ad tech startup PlaceIQ. More

Wix is advertising in the Super Bowl -- but it's just the latest tech unknown to make its debut there. More

401(k) balances reached a record high last year, thanks to a soaring stock market and larger contributions from workers participating in the savings plans, according to Fidelity. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2015 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2015. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2015 and/or its affiliates.