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GM European sales rise 4.8% on Corsa & Chevrolet

GM's European unit said sales rose 4.8% in November on demand in Russia and as buyers snapped up a new version of the Corsa small car.

Sales for the unit rose to 165,842 million vehicles in November from 158,245 million a year earlier, General Motors Corp. said in a statement on its Web site. The company's 11-month total rose 0.9% to 1.85 million vehicles. General Motors has introduced new versions of European models to regain customers lost to competitors including Volkswagen AG and PSA Peugeot Citroen, the region's two biggest carmakers.

The Detroit-based company has also scaled back its workforce in Europe by 12,500 jobs, or more than 20%, since 2004. The unit this year expects to increase profit as it reduces production costs and attracts more customers, Carl-Peter Forster, president of GM's European operations, said on December 5. The unit posted net income of $196 million in the nine months through September. Corsa sales totaled 29,800 for the month, up 36% from a year ago.

Demand for GM's cars and light trucks in Russia rose 72% for the 11 months through November to 117,745 units. General Motors' European profit is important to CEO Rick Wagoner's efforts to turn around the world's largest carmaker. As part of the overhaul, he plans to shutter 12 North American plants by 2008 and cut 34,400 jobs by January. GM lost $10.6 billion last year worldwide and had a loss of about $3 billion in the first nine months of this year. (Bloomberg)