Cadillac XTS launch in China (© General Motors)Click to enlarge picture

The new Cadillac XTS gets a splashy launch during China's annual auto show. GM once again sold more vehicles in China than the U.S.

General Motors once again sold more cars in China than it did in the United States as the automaker and its Chinese partners shipped nearly 3.2 million vehicles to customers there, while predicting further growth in China during 2014.

"We expect vehicle sales to remain robust in 2014, driven by ongoing strong demand across China for personal four-wheel transportation," said Matt Tsien, president of GM China. "GM will further expand our lineup of vehicles and services to remain in step with our customers nationwide," Tsien added.

Supported by strong demand for all of their major brands, GM and its joint ventures sold a record 3,160,377 vehicles in China in 2013. Sales increased 11.4 percent from 2012. GM sold an average of one vehicle every 10 seconds and almost 9,000 each day in China. By comparison, GM sold a total of 2,786,078 vehicles in the U.S. last year.

GM's archrival Volkswagen, which is expected to come out ahead of GM in China sales when it reports its final figures for 2013 within the next week, also sells far more vehicles in China than it does in its home market of Germany and the European Union.

"GM maintained good growth momentum in our company's largest market, despite a modest slowdown in demand for commercial vehicles," said Tsien. "We benefited from a broad portfolio of models and brands that are meeting the diverse needs of vehicle buyers across China."

Domestic sales by Shanghai GM rose 13.6 percent last year to a record 1,512,000 units. SAIC-GM-Wuling sold 1,584,920 units in China, an increase of 9.7 percent and an all-time high as well. FAW-GM's domestic sales were up 6.3 percent to 59,092 units.

Buick sales in China increased 15.7 percent on an annual basis, finishing 2013 at an all-time high of 809,918 units, while Cadillac sales in China were up 66.6 percent from 2012 to a record 50,005 units.

Exports by GM's manufacturing joint ventures to other emerging markets grew 7.7 percent last year to 83,145 units. Most of the exports from China go to markets in South East Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

GM's joint ventures once again continued expanding their footprint inside China. SAIC-GM-Wuling began construction of its new manufacturing base in Chongqing, Shanghai GM broke ground for a new plant that will manufacture Cadillac vehicles and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center broke ground for a new research and development center in Shanghai.

At the same time, GM continued to expand the dealership networks of all of its brands, with a focus on China's tier three and four cities. GM ended 2013 with more than 4,250 dealerships nationwide.

Earlier this week, Ford Motor Company, which got off to something of a late start in China, surpassed Toyota in overall sales in the critical Chinese market during 2013, accord to new sale figures.

Ford's sales surged 49 percent in 2013 as it moved into the fifth spot in Chinese sales when it passed archrival Toyota. Ford delivered a record 935,813 units in the country last year, while Toyota's sales gained 9.2 percent to 917,500 vehicles.