GM's global sales rise 4.6 pct in 1st 9 months


DETROIT, Oct 17 (Reuters) - General Motors Co's global sales rose 4.6 percent in the first nine months of theyear as strong third-quarter demand in the United States andChina helped offset declines in Europe and South America, thecompany said on Thursday.

The No. 1 U.S. automaker had nine-month global sales of morethan 7.25 million. That included a 5.5 percent increase in thethird quarter and puts GM ahead of German rival Volkswagen AG.

Volkswagen's sales in the first nine months rose 4.8 percentto 7.03 million. However, that does not include the Germanautomaker's Scania or MAN brands, which typically account for acombined 200,000 vehicle sales in a full year.

Toyota Motor Corp, which sold the most carsglobally last year, has not yet released its global salesfigures for the same period but was the leader through the firsthalf.

Toyota's groupwide total includes sales at Daihatsu Motor CoLtd and Hino Motors Ltd.

Last year, Toyota took back the title of the world's largestautomaker from GM. The Japanese automaker held the global salescrown from 2008 through 2010 but fell to third place in 2011after a U.S. recall crisis and a disrupted supply chainfollowing an earthquake and tsunami in Japan and floods inThailand.

GM's international operations, including the world's largestauto market, China, had a nine-month sales increase of 7.5percent to almost 2.85 million vehicles. GM is a market shareleader in China.

The Detroit company's sales in North America increased 7.3percent in the first nine months to almost 2.45 millionvehicles.

Sales were down 2.4 percent in Europe in that period to morethan 1.18 million vehicles, and off 2.1 percent in South Americato almost 770,000 vehicles.

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