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GM Europe Q1 sales rise 6%; strong Russia offsets weak UK

General Motors Corp.'s European division said Monday that sales in the Q1 reached 553,621 vehicles, an increase of 5.8% compared to the Q1 2006.

General Motors Corp.'s market share reached 9.8%, up 0.4% from the previous year. In March, vehicle sales rose 2.8% on the year to 248,415 vehicles. Accounting for 78% of GM's European sales, Opel/Vauxhall sold 428,787 vehicles in the Q1 of 2007. Strong results in Russia and the UK offset significant weakening in the German market. New models, like the recently launched New Corsa and the revamped Astra, are now among the best sellers in the European market.

Chevrolet maintained its sales momentum in Europe, reaching an all-time record in the Q1, beating last year's Q1 record by 25,076 units, and bringing total sales for the quarter up to 100,526 units, 33% more than in the same period last year. Market share also grew 0.4%, to 1.8%. On the premium brand side, Saab sold 22,169 units in Europe, down 10.4% on the year, which translates in to a market share of 0.4%. GM's sales in Russia more than doubled to 46,546 vehicles in the Q1 of 2007, outpacing the 26% market growth. GM's market share in Russia grew by 4.3% to 9.5%. (