Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics


Received an interesting press hand-out the other day. General Motors said that the automaker and its joint ventures in China posted their best November vehicle sales on record, up 14 percent from a year ago to 346,671.

“The market has been improving in the past two months,” GM China President Matt Tsien said in a statement. “We are well-positioned to achieve a strong finish to the year backed by newly launched models.”

(Now that all sounds good, but there was better to come.)

In November, the Buick, Cadillac and Baojun brands each had record monthly sales. The Detroit-based automaker said its SUV sales soared 231 percent year-over-year, led by sales of the Buick Envision and Baojun 560.

Buick sales jumped 45 percent to 107,925 sales in November, while Cadillac sales increased 57 percent to 7,935 vehicles and Baojun sales grew 110 percent to 58,051 vehicles.

Sales for Chevrolet fell 11 percent year-over-year to 51,192 vehicles, which GM blamed mainly on model changeover. Wuling brand sales also fell 10 percent to 121,451.

Putting the information another way we have vehicle sales:

Wuling 121,451 (down 10 percent)

Buick 107,925 (up 45 percent)

Baojun 58,051 (up 110 percent)

Chevrolet 51,192 (down 11 percent)

Cadillac 7,935 (up 57 percent)

Of course, the function of the PR agency is to present information in a way that will make the company look good. What I get from my figures is that the Chinese branded cars sold 179,000, while the US branded cars sold 165,000. Whilst Cadillac improved by 57 percent, the total number was under 8,000 vehicles.