DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co's (GM.N) global sales rose 2 percent in the third quarter, driven by strong demand in the two largest auto markets in the world, China and the United States.
The No. 1 U.S. automaker said it sold 2,449,595 cars and trucks, up from 2,396,864 in the same period last year. That marked GM's best third-quarter sales since 1980.
Through the first nine months, GM sold 7,371,743 vehicles, up 2 percent from 7,250,764 last year.
Germany's Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) previously said it had sold 7.4 million vehicles through the first nine months, an increase of 5.3 percent. Those results did not include the company's MAN and Scania brands. Japan's Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) will report third-quarter sales on Nov. 5.
GM said third-quarter sales rose 8 percent in the United States and were up 9.5 percent in North America to 884,435 vehicles. In China, its sales were up 14 percent to 849,848 vehicles. Those results helped offset declines in South America (20 percent), Europe (17 percent) and its international operations in Asia excluding China (6 percent).
GM's Chevrolet brand saw sales decline 4.7 percent in the third quarter, while its Buick, Cadillac and Opel brands saw demand rise 7 percent, 4 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.
GM shares were down 0.5 percent at $29.95.
Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Nick Zieminski