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GM says China sales fall in January due to holiday
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Feb 7, 2012

US auto giant General Motors said Tuesday its sales in China fell eight percent in January from a year earlier due to fewer shopping days during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday.

GM and its joint ventures in China sold 246,654 units, which was up 25.3 percent from the previous month, it said in a statement.

The Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar and many businesses close so workers can travel home to celebrate with their families.

It was unusually early this year, falling on January 23.

GM's sales in China hit a record 2.55 million units in 2011 despite a broader slowdown in the world's largest vehicle market as Beijing phased out sales incentives and some cities imposed restrictions on car numbers.

Foreign automakers have been outperforming their local rivals as Chinese consumers increasingly favour high quality vehicles with better safety standards, analysts have said.

Total sales in China rose just 2.5 percent to 18.51 million units last year, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said last month, compared with an increase of more than 32 percent in 2010.

China has moved to protect its domestic auto industry recently, slapping import tariffs on some US passenger cars and sports utility vehicles, and formally withdrawing support for foreign investment in the sector.

Several bids placed for bankrupt Saab: administrator
Stockholm (AFP) Feb 7, 2012 - Several companies have placed preliminary bids to buy bankrupt Swedish carmaker Saab, one of the administrators said on Tuesday, refusing to disclose their identities.

"We have received a few indicative bids," Hans Bergqvist told reporters in an audio conference, adding: "the indicative bids are interesting."

He would not disclose who had placed the bids, nor the amounts involved but reiterated that the aim was to sell all of Saab, which filed for bankruptcy on December 19, instead of selling off parts of the company.

He repeated that there were four or five parties interested in buying Saab. He said most of them were from abroad but at least one was from Sweden.

Swedish media have reported that Chinese carmaker Youngman placed a preliminary bid last week of about two billion kronor (227 million euros, $298 million).

Youngman has long been interested in Saab and tried to snap it up before it declared bankruptcy, but those efforts were thwarted by the Swedish brand's former owner GM, which balked at transferring the necessary technology licences.

Reports have also surfaced that Indian commercial utility vehicles manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra has placed a bid as well.

Neither Youngman nor Mahindra and Mahindra has confirmed those reports.

Saab was already on the brink of bankruptcy when GM sold it in early 2010 to Dutch company Swedish Automobile (SWAN) -- at the time called Spyker -- for $400 million (308 million euros).

The past two years have been lined with desperate efforts and numerous failed deals to keep it afloat.


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Suzuki sales slip, downgrades annual forecast
Tokyo (AFP) Feb 6, 2012
Japan's Suzuki Motor said Monday its net profit fell 4.7 percent for the nine months to December and downgraded its annual sales forecast due to the impact of a strong yen and a slump in India. The Japanese motorcycle and small car specialist said its group net profit came to 40.6 billion yen ($530 million) for the period, down from 42.6 billion yen a year earlier. Operating profit for t ... read more

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