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Sales of General Motors Co. vehicles rose by 3.9 percent worldwide – to more than 4.85 million vehicles – in the first half of this year, although growth was slowed by declines in Europe and South America.

That puts the Detroit automaker narrowly ahead of Volkswagen, which last week reported a first-half sales gain of 5.6 percent, to 4.7 million vehicles.

Toyota Motor Corp., which has pushed past GM to become the world’s biggest auto seller, has not yet reported its first-half sales results.

“GM had an outstanding second quarter and first half, but was it enough to be No. 1 in global sales for the half? We’ll have to wait to see when Toyota reports its worldwide sales,” said Michelle Krebs, an analyst for auto information company Edmunds.com.

GM’s flagship Chevrolet brand saw sales rise by 1.4 percent, to 2.5 million vehicles, in the first half of this year over the same period a year ago.

“Chevrolet is in the midst of the most aggressive new product roll-out in the brand’s history,” said Alan Batey, senior vice president of Global Chevrolet.

“The continued sales growth around the world is a result of a focused effort to strengthen Chevrolet’s presence in developing markets, as well as its relationship with consumers by offering the right products, technologies and world-class customer service.”

In North America, GM’s sales rose by 7.7 percent during the first half, while sales rose by 7 percent in the automaker’s international operations division, of which China is the biggest portion. GM’s sales fell by 6.5 percent in Europe and were down by 1 percent in South America.