GM’s China April sales rise at slowest pace in 14 months

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BEIJING (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co., which sells more cars in China than anywhere else, reported sales there increased 6.3 percent last month, the slowest pace in 14 months.

China sales climbed to 278,263 units in April, the company said in a statement on its website. Deliveries of Buick cars rose 2.7 percent from a year earlier, slower than the 12 percent pace in March, to 68,707 units.

GM is locked in a “horse race” with Volkswagen AG to be the best-selling foreign automaker in the world’s largest auto market, with the German automaker signaling its ambition to maintain its sales lead over the biggest U.S. carmaker. China’s economic expansion slowed to a 7.4 percent pace in the three months ended March from 7.7 percent in the previous quarter.

GM plans to invest $12 billion through 2017 and introduce more than 60 new or refreshed models in China by the end of 2018, according to GM’s China President Matt Tsien.

Of GM’s other brands, Chevrolet sales gained 6.4 percent to 53,810 units.

The company unveiled the new version of the Cruze compact - - its top-selling model for the brand in China -- at the Beijing auto show last month. GM also rolled out the Chevrolet Trax SUV at the show, to tap a segment that saw sales increase 37 percent in the first quarter, more than triple the pace of overall passenger-car sales, according to the state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Cadillac sales climbed 49 percent to 6,091 units in April. The company intends to sell more than 100,000 units of its premium marque in China by the end of next year, after deliveries surged 67 percent to 50,005 units last year.

Sales at its Wuling joint venture rose 7.4 percent to 144,729 units.

GM is boosting its capacity in China by 65 percent by 2020, Tsien said last month at the Beijing auto show.

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