GM Europe again posted record sales for Chevrolet (29,236 units, +9.5%) and Saab (6,327 units, +16.4%) in July 2006.

Year-to-date Chevrolet sales - most models now imported from GM-Daewoo in Korea, note - grew by 10.8% across Europe (from 171,223 units for Jan-Jul 2005 to 189,659 for Jan-Jul 2006) and Saab grew by 23.4% across Europe (from 46,207 units to 57,009 ).

"Chevrolet and Saab are on a roll. With Opel/Vauxhall, we are achieving our objectives in channel mix, car line mix and country mix to increase the profitability of sales. Our growth strategy for eastern Europe is paying off, evidenced by the 83% increase for the month of July," said Jonathan Browning, GM Europe's head of sales, marketing & aftersales.

GM Europe's success in eastern Europe in July, showing an increase in sales of 75% compared to July 2005, was largely based on Chevrolet (+4,000 vehicles) and Opel (+743 vehicles) sales increases.

It should be noted Chevrolet year on year comparisons start from a very low base in some markets as the brand - now GM's entry-level nameplate across continental Europe - only really gained full Europe-wide momentum this year after replacing the Daewoo brand in some markets.

In the first seven months of 2006, 64,549 GM vehicles were sold in Russia (+53.6%), of which 55,116 were Chevrolets (+18,925 units) and 8,943 Opels (+3,442 units). In the Ukraine, GM sold 24,301 vehicles in the first seven months of 2006 (+20.6%), 19,216 Chevrolets (+1,064 units) and 5,010 Opels (+3,046).

General Motors sold 1,226,617 vehicles in Europe's total vehicle market in the first seven months of 2006, slightly down (by 707 units) compared with the same period last year. Market share was 9.3% vs 9.6%.

Nonetheless, sales growth in 2006 for GM, compared to the first seven months a year ago, was particularly marked in Russia (+53.6%), Sweden (+26.2%) and Ireland (+14.4%). In July 2006, GM sold 156,680 cars and vans in Europe, for an improved market share for the month of 9.1% (2005: 9.0%). Sales increases versus July 2005 were achieved in Russia (+86.5%), Ukraine (+75.2%), Sweden (+37.8%) and Belgium (+15.6%).

Chevrolet sales across Europe increased by 9.5% in July 2006 over July 2005. Car sales reached record levels of 29,236 units versus 26,705 units in the same month last year. The main areas of growth in July were again central and eastern Europe, as well as Germany and Ireland. July sales in Russia almost doubled, from 5,649 to 10,356 units.

Chevrolet Germany sold 19.1% more cars in July 2006 than in the same month last year; the growth rate for Ireland was 66.4% and in Ukraine 60.5%. Overall July market share across Europe reached a record 1.7% and, for the first time, penetration in Ukraine was over 10%, at 10.9%.

In the January to July period, Chevrolet increased vehicle sales by 10.8% across Europe from 171,223 units in 2005 to 189,659 units this year.

With the new Epica top-line sedan coming on stream in the second half of 2006 and the new diesel-powered Captiva SUV being launched in several markets in autumn, the brand expects continued strong growth in the remaining months of 2006 and annual sales well over the 295,459 units last year.

Market share in the first seven months reached 1.4% and record growth was again registered in central and eastern Europe.

Saab

During the first seven months, Saab sold 57,009 cars in Europe, up 10,802 cars compared to the same period last year. In July, Saab registrations reached 6,327 cars, a 16.4% increase compared with a year ago and is also the best July ever in Saab's history.

"We have seen very encouraging figures for us at Saab this year, which also means that we are becoming less dependent on only a few big markets," noted Browning.

Opel/Vauxhall

GM's biggest volume brands in Europe, Opel and Vauxhall, sold 120,749 cars and light commercial vehicles in total Europe in July (2005: 126,570 units), reaching a market share of 7.0%. Strong markets in July were the UK, Spain, Belgium, Russia and Ukraine.

But, from January to July 2006, total sales of 976,368 vehicles were off a little compared with 1,007,376 units a year earlier - for a market share of 7.4%.

Here In the UK, Vauxhall increased both sales and market share in July compared to the same month in 2005, despite the UK market as a whole shrinking 3.6%.

Total Vauxhall registrations rose 4.8% to 26,363, reaching a market share of 13.4%. This strong performance was fuelled mainly by strong retail demand for all models. The Vectra, which is traditionally a predominantly fleet model, became the top seller in its class with private buyers for the first time since 1998.

Cadillac

Cadillac's European 2006 sales grew 28%, from 1,590 to 2,032 cars by the end of July, boosted by the Saab-built BLS with the diesel engine option essential in its sector in Europe.

Hummer H2 and H3 sales rose to 983 units from 269 units in 2005.

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