The Latin American, African and Middle Eastern businesses of General Motors delivered some well-needed good news for the US motor giant today by reporting record sales levels and growth of 3.2% in 2008 over the previous year.

GM Latin America, Africa and Middle East (GM LAAM) posted sales of over 1.276m vehicles in 2008, up 40,000 units over 2007, representing a 3.2%. In addition, LAAM’s market share increased to 17.1% for the year.

Maureen Kempston Darkes, GM group vice president and president of GM LAAM said: “We are pleased to post our fifth consecutive record sales year, with the Chevrolet brand continuing to lead the growth throughout the region.”

All-time yearly GM sales records were set in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Egypt, Kenya, North Africa and Middle East markets in 2008, the company said.

For the 2008 calendar year, market share gains were recorded in Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Egypt, Kenya, Israel, Middle East, North Africa, South Africa and Venezuela, it added.

The North African market and Egypt were GM’s highest market gainers in 2008, growing 57% and 52%, respectively, both of which significantly out-paced the industry growth rate.

“Despite a slowdown in the fourth quarter throughout the region due to the global economic crisis, the North African market posted all-time quarterly GM sales and market share records in Q4 2008. In addition, Ecuador, Peru and Egypt set fourth quarter sales records,” GM said in a statement.

The Chevrolet Corsa, Celta and Aveo remained as the top three sellers across the region in 2008, representing 41% of GM’s sales volume. Chevrolet represents 90% of GM sales in LAAM. Brazil represents the second largest market for Chevrolet outside the US, with sales of 549,000 in 2008.

The cars are mostly local variants of GM Europe or GM Daewoo models.