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GM Says Global Sales Advanced 2 Percent in First Three Months

General Motors Co., the biggest U.S. automaker, said global vehicle sales rose 2.3 percent to 2.42 million during the first quarter. Increasing deliveries in China helped make up for declines in the U.S and Brazil.

GM sold 2,416,028 cars and trucks in the first three months of the year, the Detroit-based automaker said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. That compares with 2.36 million during the same period a year ago, Jim Cain, a GM spokesman, said in an e-mail.

“We are very encouraged by our results in China, where we outperformed the industry, and in Europe, where Opel’s sales and the economic outlook are improving at the same time,” President Dan Ammann said in the statement.

GM, the world’s biggest car company by vehicle sales in 2011, slipped to third last year behind Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG.

VW’s first-quarter global deliveries rose 5.8 percent to 2.4 million compared to a year ago, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based automaker said on April 11. Those figures don’t include two truck units. In January, VW issued a tally for its 2013 results that included sales from the MAN SE and Scania AB heavy-truck units to edge out GM as the second-largest automaker by sales with 9.73 million deliveries last year. GM sold 9.71 million vehicles in 2013.

GM said first-quarter sales fell in the U.S. by 2.3 percent to 649,637 vehicles and in Brazil by 3 percent to 136,912 in Brazil. China sales rose 13 percent to 919,114 in China, the company said, reiterating results released April 4. Deliveries in Europe rose 0.7 percent to 337,545. In South America, they fell 10 percent.

Consumer interest in GM vehicles has held up while Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra has been under pressure to answer questions about the company’s slow recall of 2.59 million small cars for faulty ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths. The first part of that recall was announced Feb. 13 and scrutiny intensified this month in Congressional hearings.

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