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GM 2Q global sales fall 15 pct amid weak economy

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TOM KRISHER
July 22, 2009
— Although General Motors' North American sales dropped sharply last quarter as it headed into U.S. bankruptcy protection, strong growth in its Asia-Pacific region offset much of the decline, and the automaker ended up with global sales down 15 percent for the quarter.

General Motors Co., which has received $50 billion in U.S. government aid and emerged from Chapter 11 on July 10, said Wednesday that it sold 1.94 million vehicles worldwide in the April-to-June period, despite a 32 percent decline in North America.


Much of the North American decline was offset by record sales in China, up 62 percent compared with the same quarter last year. The company sold more than 450,000 vehicles in China last quarter, not far from its depressed U.S. sales of nearly 538,000.


The automaker said the Asia-Pacific growth led to 72 percent of its global sales for the quarter coming from outside its home North American market. That's far higher than the normal percentage of around 65 percent, company officials said.


Mike DiGiovanni, executive director of global market and industry analysis, said during a conference call with reporters and industry analysts that as U.S. sales recover, GM's percentage of overseas sales should drop back to the 60 to 65 percent range.


"We do expect a gradual recovery in the U.S. market as we proceed into 2010," he said.


The bright spot in GM's global sales, the company said, was that they were up 20 percent over the first quarter, a sign that the company is recovering from its 40-day stay in bankruptcy protection and from the global economic downturn.


GM says its global market share was 12 percent, down only slightly from the year-ago quarter despite the company's U.S. bankruptcy filing.


The Detroit automaker says it sold 3.55 million vehicles for the first half of the year, down 22 percent from the same period last year.


GM said its Asia-Pacific sales were up nearly 38 percent in the second quarter, and it predicted strong and continuing growth for its Buick, Wuling and Chevrolet brands, especially in China.


Rival Toyota Motor Corp. reports on its six-month sales next month.



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