General Motors sold 5,150 fewer vehicles in Europe in the first four months of 2006 - 686,468 in total - but said it had focused on improving per-unit revenues.

Market share for the period was 9.4%, the same as 2005's full-year share.

Sales grew in Russia (+ 31.7%), Ireland (+ 18.6%), Sweden (+14.8%), the Netherlands (+ 11.0%), Denmark (+ 11.0%) and Belgium (+ 9.8%).

"Overall, our sales performance in Europe is on track for the first four months of the year. We saw mixed share results in certain important markets. For example we are looking to improve our German market share" said GM Europe sales chief Jonathan Browning."

In the first third of the year, Cadillac sales were up 15% to 909 cars in Europe, with 196 units delivered in April (up just 4 units or 2%), as the European-built Saab 9-3 based BLS four-door went on sale.

Corvette sales were off 8% at 417 cars from January to April despite the recent launch of the Z06 model in Europe. Hummer, on the other hand, was up from 138 to 506 vehicles.

Saab, attracting criticism for the age of its recently facelifted 9-5, reported European sales up 21.3% to 31,798 for the first four months.

Saab sales continue to accelerate, with all-time volume records achieved in Europe from January to April of 2006, where a 21.3% increase (+ 5,588 cars) produced sales of 31,798 units. Worldwide sales were up 17.3% to 44,827.

Each of Saab's top 10 markets - accounting for 85% of total sales - posted increases, including all-time record volumes in the UK, Spain and Belgium. The US is again the top market for the brand, at 11,208 units for the first four months of 2006, followed by the UK with 9,373 units and Sweden, where 8,326 cars were sold in the first four months, up 2,176 cars or 38% versus the same period a year ago.

In April 2006, Saab sold 10,847 cars globally and 7,146 in Europe, achieving a European market share of 0.4%.

The launch of the Saab 9-3 SportCombi range, the introduction of a new 2.8-litre V6 turbo engine and the success of the 9-5 BioPower in Sweden, where it is the top-selling environmentally-friendly ethanol vehicle, continue to contribute to Saab's strong performance, according to GM.

The number of new Opel/Vauxhall vehicle registrations in Europe for the first four months of the year fell 3.4% to 549,624 units (2005: 569,231). April sales were off almost 11% to 128,479.

But the latest Zafira minivan, launched last summer, was is doing well with sales up rose 27% to 81,717.

Chevrolet models sold in Europe come mainly from GM Daewoo in Korea but the four-month figure of 103,214 (up 8.9%) included 12,846 vehicles produced by GM Avtovaz for the Russian market and 1,567 US-produced vehicles.

GM said outstanding April results for the bow tie brand were recorded in Denmark (+38.9%), Germany (+38.0%), Italy (+21.5%) and Russia (+244.3%).