FYI 2.10.2010

GM and Ford Report Record Sales in January; Spring Festival Gala Could Earn CCTV $95.2 Million in Ad Revenue; Mindshare Promotes Siewping Lim and Danny Xu

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General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. both achieved record sales in China in January 2010.

GM and its joint ventures in China sold 219,192 vehicles in January, up 97.0% from the first month of 2009. Sales of both Buick and Chevrolet also reached all-time highs for the first month of the year, according to GM China.

Buick sales rose 90.6% to 46,853 units while Chevrolet sales jumped 206.8% to 49,475 units. The Chevrolet New Sail small car got off to a solid start, with 6,924 sold in the car's first month on the market. SAIC-GM-Wuling, a minivan maker, sold 119,969 units in January, up 59.6%.

Meanwhile, Ford sold 30,759 locally-produced cars in tJanuary, surging 128% year-on-year. With 17,151 Ford Focus cars and 7,147 Ford Fiesta cars sold, Ford achieved all-time monthly record sales in China for both models. Sales of Ford's two other models, Mondeo-Zhisheng and S-MAX, also surged 67.4 % and 62.9%, respectively, in January.

John Zeng, an auto market analyst with HIS Global Insight in Shanghai, attributed the robust sales of GM and Ford in China to the strong momentum built up in 2009. He expects market growth to slow down later this year. --This article was first published in Automotive News China, a publication of Crain Communications.

A marketing high point of the Chinese new year holiday will take place over four hours on Feb. 13, the eve of the lunar new year, during the CCTV Spring Festival evening gala.

The annual event draws so many viewers that its ratings are rivaled globally only by the Superbowl in the U.S. and Europe's Eurovision Song Contest. Last year, the gala was watched by almost 35% of China's 1.2 billion population.

Reaching viewers doesn't come cheap, however. Ad revenues for this year's gala could net China Central Television up to $95.2 million, based on rate card prices. Media buyers say rates for air time during the show have risen 30% in 2010 over last year's rates. A 10-second commercial during the New Year countdown reportedly costs $7.6 million.

Mindshare has promoted Beijing-based Siewping Lim to VP, China, a new national role in which she is responsible for the media agency's strategic growth and operations in the mainland. Previously, she was managing director of Mindshare, Beijing. Mindshare also promoted Danny Xu to leader of its Guangzhou office from partner, client leadership at Mindshare, Beijing.

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