General Motors (GM) sold 874,787 vehicles in Europe in the first five months of 2006, up 12,172 units on the same period last year.

GM's market share for the period was 9.34%, down from 9.6% a year ago.

However, sales rose in Russia (+41.7%), Sweden (+19.9%), Ireland (+16.9%) and Denmark (+14.9%).

In May 2006, GM sold 188,896 cars and vans in Europe, up 17,900 units compared to May 2005, for a market share of 9.6% (2005: 9.6%). Sales increases over May last year were achieved in Russia (+79.2%), Ukraine (+57.2%), Italy (+57.7%), Denmark (+54.1%), Sweden (+40.1%) and Germany (+11.8%).

"May was GM's best ever month in Russia, with sales of 11,110 vehicles, a plus of 79.2% over last year. We have shown consistent growth in central and eastern Europe over the past months as our product portfolio, dealer network and manufacturing location strategies are starting to take effect on a multibrand basis. With strong market growth and the opportunities that this presents, we are in a good position to continue our growth and expansion plans," said GM Europe sales chief Jonathan Browning.

Saab grew sales in Europe with 40,745 cars sold to the end of May, a 24.3% increase year on year.

Worldwide sales rose 16.3% to to 57,303 cars during the first five months of the year.

The US remained Saab's top market, at 14,177 units in the first five months of 2006, followed by the UK with 11,863 units, and Sweden, where 10,807 cars were sold in the first five months, up 3,373 cars or 45.4% versus the same period a year ago.

May 2006, registrations of Opel/Vauxhall passenger cars and commercial vehicles in Europe totaled 151,122, 9,710 units more than in the year-earlier month. As the entire market grew even more strongly in May 2006, market share reached 7.7%, slightly less than the 7.9% achieved in May 2005.

However, with growth for the first four months of 2006 at 7.5%, the brand still sees a steady increase for this year. The total number of year-to-date Opel/Vauxhall registrations in Europe is 700,276 units.

In many countries, Opel/Vauxhall's market share grew in the first five months of the year compared with the same period in 2005, for example in the Netherlands (+0.5 percentage points), Ireland (+0.8), Denmark (+0.9), Poland (+1.2) and Russia (+0.2), where registrations rose by almost 50% over the year-earlier period, to 5,961 units.

Sales in Opel's German home market also inched up in May 2006, with registrations passenger cars and commercial vehicles rising by 0.4% or 4,056 units to 36,340.

Vauxhall UK May car registrations were up by 1.2% from 26,513 to 26,829 units last month, the highest May volume since 2000.

From January to May 2006, Chevrolet - vehicles built primarily by GM-DAT in Korea - sold a total of 131,220 units, including vehicles produced by GM Avtovaz for the Russian market and US-produced vehicles, increasing its sales volume by 11.8% over the same period last year.

Chevrolet's market share in the January to May period was 1.43% vs. 1.3% in the same period last year. Record sales increases in the first five months were registered in Germany (+14.7%), Italy (+36.3%), Portugal (+17.7%), Spain (+16.3%), Greece (+23.8%) and in the whole region of Central and Eastern Europe (+32.8%).

In May, Chevrolet sold 28,480 vehicles, 26.1% more than in May 2005.