x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Iraq in driving seat for GM sales

Big sales gains in Iraq helped the American carmaker, General Motors, drive its February sales up 21 per cent.

Iraq helped to push General Motors (GM) to 21 per cent growth in sales in the Middle East last month compared with February last year, the US car maker announced yesterday.

The growth was driven by a 42 per cent increase in sales to individual customers of Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC cars, pickups and utilities.

"February represents another month of double-digit sales growth," said John Stadwick, the president and managing director of GM Middle East Operations.

Sales increases were registered across the region, with the greatest rise recorded in Iraq, GM Middle East's second-largest market, where sales doubled.

Chevrolet business was up 44 per cent, driven by sales of the Aveo, Cruze and Malibu, which were up 68 per cent. Sales were also boosted by strong growth of the Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup, of which sales doubled.

Other GM models for which sales grew significantly included the Chevrolet Suburban (up 32 per cent), the Chevrolet Traverse (19 per cent), the GMC Sierra (59 per cent) and the Cadillac CTS (54 per cent).

GM's latest results are in line with trends last year. The car maker sold 38,450 Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC vehicles across the region in the final quarter of last year, up 26 per cent on the same period in 2009.

Iraq was also GM's fastest-growing market in that period, with increased political stability a major factor, the company said. In the fourth quarter, its sales there rose by 112 per cent compared with the same quarter in 2009.

Overall last year, GM sold 123,258 vehicles in the Middle East, up 5.5 per cent from 2009.

Another factor that helped to boost sales across the region was a general economic recovery and banks loosening the reins on lending.