General Motors (GM 1.35%) announced today that its Chinese sales rose 12% for the quarter ended in September versus the year-ago period. The gain follows a 5% drop in the second quarter, and marks the first year-over-year gain for sales in China in two years. 

The company said it delivered 771,400 vehicles in China, including its joint-venture partnerships. GM said it sees strong momentum in the vehicle sales market as China's economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

GM's cadillac SUV lineup

Cadillac XT4, XT5, and XT6 SUVs. Image source: General Motors.

The company said the strength in sales has been led by its luxury vehicles, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), and multipurpose vehicles such as the Buick GL8 minivan family. 

The strongest growth came with a 28% rise in the Cadillac XT4, XT5, and XT6 SUVs. The Buick brand also rose a strong 26%. Its Buick Envision SUV sales rose by 48%, the company reported. One area of weakness came from its Chevrolet brand, which experienced a 20% drop compared with the 2019 period. 

GM has been growing its electric-vehicle offerings in China, and the company said that in the next five years, over 40% of new vehicle launches in China will be new energy vehicles (NEVs). 

Its Wuling brand launched its first electric model -- the Hong Guang Mini EV -- in July 2020, and GM says it is now the top-selling NEV model in China. The micro EV is meant for urban use and has a starting price of the equivalent of about $4,200. Overall sales of the Wuling brand grew 26%, and represented about 35% of the company's quarterly Chinese sales.