DETROIT -- China knocked the United States out of the top spot in auto industry sales in January, if General Motors sales estimates are accurate.
During GMs monthly sales call today, Mike DiGiovanni, GMs executive director of global market and industry analysis, said an estimated 790,000 vehicles were sold in China in January.
Total U.S. sales in January were about 668,000, DiGiovanni estimated. Automotive News estimates that 656,881 vehicles were sold in January.
If you want to put this industry in perspective, DiGiovanni said, its the lowest January in terms of unit sales since January 1963.
GMs January sales were down 49 percent from a year ago.
This is the first time in history that China has passed the U.S. in monthly sales, DiGiovanni said. We are estimating that China is going to come in at 10.7 million seasonally adjusted annual rate in January, about 790,000 units. The U.S. industry, we estimate, at about 668,000 units or about 9.8 million SAAR.
Actual sales figures from China are not yet available.