(Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co.'s first-half sales in China surpassed those in the U.S. for the first time as the world's fastest-growing major economy propelled global auto demand.
Sales in China by GM and its joint ventures totaled 1.21 million vehicles in the six months ended June 30, topping U.S. deliveries of 1.08 million, based on figures reported separately by the Detroit-based company.
This would be the first time any overseas market has “consistently outsold” GM's domestic market in the carmaker's 102-year-old history, said Michael Albano, a Shanghai-based spokesman.
Surging demand among China's 1.37 billion people is speeding automakers' recovery after a recession cut global auto sales last year and forced GM's predecessor, General Motors Corp., into bankruptcy. GM is counting on expansion overseas to bolster profit as it prepares for an initial public offering as early as the fourth quarter.
“China is one of GM's bright spots globally,” said John Zeng, a Shanghai-based automotive analyst at IHS Global Insight. “GM has done a better job in the Chinese market than other American automakers. The huge potential in this market will continue to fuel GM's growth here.”
Government stimulus measures helped China's industrywide vehicle sales jump 46 percent last year to 13.6 million, surpassing the U.S. for the first time to become the world's largest automobile market. U.S. auto sales fell 21 percent to 10.4 million, the fewest since 1982, as unemployment rose amid the worst recession in six decades.