GM reports worst sales in China since onset of Covid-19 lockdowns

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WUHAN, CHINA – 2022/05/18: Employees wearing masks work on a car assembly line at the SAIC General Motors Co. The SAIC General Motors Wuhan Branch has resumed production following epidemic prevention and control rules. (Photo by Ren Yong/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

DETROIT – General Motors on Wednesday reported its worst quarterly sales in China since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, amid a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in the country and ongoing global supply chain problems.

The Detroit automaker said it sold 484,200 vehicles from April through June in China, its largest market globally. Sales were down 35.5% from a year earlier and the lowest since 461,700 vehicles during the first quarter of 2020, when government Covid restrictions brought China’s production to a standstill.

Shares of GM were down more than 4% during intraday trading Wednesday. Shares of the automaker have declined about 47% in 2022.

In a release, GM said its brands in China are “focused on resuming production and operations.” The company’s China sales were released less than a week after GM warned investors that supply chain issues would materially impact its second quarter earnings, while maintaining its previous guidance for 2022.

GM CFO Paul Jacobson last month described the situation in China during a Deutsche Bank investor conference as “obviously challenging,” citing “some short-term issues that we’ve had to work through.”

GM’s sales in China include those through joint ventures and its well-known Buck, Cadillac and Chevrolet brands, all of which experienced significant declines of between roughly 22% and 79%.

Mainland China’s daily Covid case count, including those without symptoms, has surged from a handful of cases to around 200 or 300 new cases in the last several days. The number of cities restricting local movement due to Covid more than doubled in a week to 11 as of Monday, up from five a week earlier, according to Ting Lu, chief China economist at Nomura.

GM’s second-quarter sales in China follow the automaker on Friday reporting a 15.4% decline in its U.S. sales during that time period.

– CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.

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