GM sales rise in several regions

As its U.S. light-vehicle sales plunge, General Motors is posting strong results in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.

Unfortunately for GM, those are relatively small markets.

GM today said it sold 18 percent more vehicles in those markets during the second quarter of 2008 than during the same period a year ago. In the first half of 2008, GMs sales increased 19 percent, to 670,000 vehicles.

Maureen Kempston Darkes, president of GMs operations in the regions, said in a statement that the increase was driven by strong sales of the Chevrolet Corsa, Celta and Aveo. Those three cars make up 40 percent of GMs sales in the regions. Only the Aveo is available in the United States, where its sales have struggled.

GM said its market share in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East is 17.5 percent, up 0.7 of a percentage point.

GM said its sales more than doubled in Egypt and set quarterly records there and in Brazil, North Africa and Chile.

The automaker returned to profit in Brazil in 2006 after eight years of losses, benefiting from an economic upswing that has helped revive the entire auto industry.

Reuters contributed to this report

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