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GM sells more vehicles in China than in the U.S.

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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: General Motors reported this week it fell several thousand cars short of Toyota in the number of cars sold around the world. But here's an interesting fact, for the first time in its the automaker's 102-year history, GM sold more cars in a foreign market than in the U.S.

Marketplace's Rob Schmitz reports.


ROB SCHMITZ: That foreign market happens to be China, the fastest growing automobile market on the planet. GM sold 200,000 more vehicles in China than it sold at home. Sounds like good news, but there's a caveat.

MICHAEL DUNNE: The average price of a car that GM sells in China is about half of the price of a car that it sells in the United States.

Michael Dunne is finishing a book about GM's success in China. He points out that not only are GM's cars cheaper in China, but the company also has to share its profits.

DUNNE: GM is a minority shareholder in China, so for every car that gets sold, it collects half the revenues.

So for GM's bean counters, the numbers from China don't look that impressive. GM's growth sure does, though: Twelve years ago, the company sold just 20,000 Buicks in China. This year, they sold 2.4 million vehicles. Last week's visit from President Hu Jintao saw a $900 million deal to export Cadillacs, Buicks, and Chevys, all signs that GM's growth isn't likely to slow down anytime soon.

In Shanghai, I'm Rob Schmitz, for Marketplace.

About the author

Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai.

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