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GM Widens Lead Over Toyota in China With 7.9% Sales Gain

General Motors Co.’s China sales rose during the first two months of the year, extending the U.S. carmaker’s lead over Toyota Motor Corp. in the world’s biggest auto market, as demand for Japanese brands shrank.

Combined sales in the country during January and February climbed 7.9 percent to 525,835 vehicles, Detroit-based GM said on its website today. In the past week, Japan’s Toyota, Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. have reported declines in January-to-February deliveries in China.

The results show GM is gaining market share in both of the world’s two biggest automobile markets. Based on data released last week, U.S. sales at the maker of Chevrolet and Buick cars have risen 11 percent this year, outpacing the growth in total light-vehicle deliveries in the country.

Automakers in China commonly release two-month data when the week-long Lunar New Year holiday falls on a different month from a year earlier, as was the case this year.

Among GM’s brands, two-month sales of the Wuling microvan climbed 25 percent in China, followed by the 12 percent increase in Buick deliveries and 5.4 percent rise in Chevrolet sales. Still, the company saw deliveries of luxury Cadillac vehicles tumble 24 percent during the first two months.

GM vies against Volkswagen AG for the lead among foreign automakers in China. Japanese automakers have seen their sales in the country slump since September, when a territorial dispute fueled anti-Japanese protests across China, though those demonstrations have since subsided.

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