BEIJING, Jan. 13 -- Global auto giants reported rising sales in China, the world's second-largest auto market, despite the gloomy picture in the global market.
The Detroit's "Big Three" auto makers -- General Motors, Ford and Chrysler -- experienced double-digit sales declines in the United States last year as the global financial crisis sapped demand. Two, GM and Chrysler, warned of collapses amid the crisis and got 13.4 billion U.S. dollars in government loan aid in December.
In contrast, two of the Big Three reported sales increases in the Chinese market.
GM said auto sales in China climbed 6.1 percent last year from 2007 to 1.09 million units. Its sales in the U.S. market, however, contracted 22.7 percent in 2008.
Chrysler, whose U.S. sales slumped 30 percent last year, saw its sales double in the Chinese market.
Ford Motors announced on Monday that it sold 306,306 vehicles in China in 2008, but it did not provide comparative figure for 2007.
However, Ford's joint venture, the Chang'an Ford Mazda Automobile Co., said car sales fell 5.9 percent last year from a year earlier. Total sales reached 204,334 vehicles, down from 217,100 units in 2007.
Europe's largest auto maker, Volkswagen AG, reported a 12.5-percent jump in China sales last year to exceed 1 million vehicles, building on its successful sponsorship for the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
Toyota Motors, the Japanese auto giant, sold 17 percent more vehicles in China last year. Its rival, Honda Motors, posted an 11.7-percent growth in 2008 in China.
Although auto giants closed out 2008 with outstanding performance in China, the country's auto market was not immune from a global industry recession.
Chinese auto makers reported a 6.7-percent rise in sales in 2008 compared with the previous year, the lowest rise in 10 years, China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said on Monday.
The industry group expected the growth rate of auto sales to drop to 5 percent this year as consumer confidence waned with a slowing economy.
China's GDP slowed to 9 percent in the first three quarters last year, down sharply from 10.4 percent in the first half of 2008 and 11.9 percent for 2007.
The Chinese government was planning stimulus measures to boost the ailing sector.
It is speculated that the plan would include cuts on car purchase taxes and incentives for the development of low-emission and clean energy-powered cars.