GM's China sales hit record high in September

BEIJING: US auto giant General Motors, struggling to boost sales at home after emerging from bankruptcy, said Friday that sales in China, the world's biggest car market, hit a record high in September.

GM and its Chinese partners saw sales rise to 181,148 units in September from 152,365 in August -- a nearly 19 percent jump, and the latest in a series of single-month records stretching back to January.

The company's China sales for the first nine months of the year soared 55.6 percent to nearly 1.3 million units, another record, giving GM and its partners an estimated market share of 13.4 percent, GM said in a statement.

"Sales continue to surpass forecasts as nearly all market segments experience growth," GM China Group President and Managing Director Kevin Wale said in the statement.

"A major market driving force this year has been first-time car buyers in China's second, third and fourth-tier cities."

In the United States, GM's biggest market, sales fell 45 percent to 156,673 vehicles and were down 36.4 percent for the year to date at 1.55 million after the expiry of the popular government-funded "Cash for Clunkers" programme.

GM said weak consumer confidence and extremely low inventory had also hit sales at home.