General Motors sales in Europe rose 0.94% last year to 2,002,704 cars and light commercial vehicles, the first time the automaker has cracked the 2m mark on this side of the Atlantic.

GM’s market share (western, central and eastern Europe) was 9.2%.

“2006 was a breakthrough year for us: We sold over 2m vehicles for the first time while also substantially improving average revenue per vehicle and laying the foundations for sustainable growth,” said Jonathan Browning, vice president GM Europe for sales, marketing and aftersales.

Accounting for 78% of GM’s European sales, Opel/Vauxhall sold 1.56m vehicles in 2006, for a market share of 7.2%. Reflecting GM’s strategy of reducing short-cycle fleet sales, overall market share slightly declined by 0.4%. The brand’s share grew, however, in 14 European markets. In Russia, the Ukraine and Romania, Opel doubled its sales from 2005.

The brand’s most important volume model, the Astra, sold 515,302 units in 2006, achieving a 2.37% share of the European market and second position in the compact segment.

Vauxhall took second place in the UK sales charts with a 12.8% share and 349,560 registrations for the year.

Saab reached record sales for Europe: it sold 90,502 cars in 2006, boosting volume 10.3%, or 8,439 cars. Globally, Saab sold a record 133,200 cars 5.4% up from 2005.

Chevrolet, which in Europe sells mostly GM-Daewoo-sourced models, grew volume 15% to 341,612 units and a market share of 1.6% (up from 1.4% in 2005). The figures also include 48,800 vehicles built by GM AvtoVAZ and a small number of US-built vehicles with 292,800 vehicles imported from Korea – 21.5% more than in 2005.  In 2006, the main growth area was again central and eastern Europe with sales of over 188,000 units and overall growth of 33.5%.

In Russia, Chevrolet sold over 111,400 vehicles – of which nearly 43,300 units came from GM-Avtovaz and GM US production, compared with 67,000 units in 2005.

Cadillac registered 22% growth in 2006, with European sales of 3,272 cars.