Needless to say, global auto sales were incredibly bad in 2009, with one extremely big exception. The Chinese market boomed thanks to an expanding economy and plenty of government subsidies to keep the country's fledgling auto industry running strong. Few automakers saw more success in the land of the Great Wall than General Motors, with the automaker and its Chinese partner registered 1.8 million sales – a 67 percent increase over 2008 levels. Sales have been so good that GM China's sales surpassed those in the US in nine of the first 11 months of the year. The General put an exclamation point on a splendid 2009 with December sales that were up 96.6 percent versus the same month in 2008. If only the General could see that kind of success in the U.S.
As impressive as GM's Chinese sales were in 2009, the automaker sees bluer skies in 2010. GM China president Kevin Wale said in a statement that the company feels 2010 will be stronger than 2009, adding "the industry outlook is strong, and we expect more growth, albeit on a somewhat slower pace." That's great news for GM, especially given the company's painful struggles in North America and Europe.
While GM is being very thrifty elsewhere in the world the General is spending money and expanding in China. The company opened a laboratory and safety facility in 2009 and it will also open a massive proving ground in the near future.