global car sales

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

ISIS, Ebola, tensions between Russia and the Ukraine, economic slowdowns in China, Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere – the profusion of gloomy headlines added up to a grim day on Wall Street yesterday, as the Dow plunged more than 450 points. 

It was the heaviest day of trading in more than three years. 

The stomach-churning day on Wall Street came exactly as General Motors announced some shiny, happy news: GM sold more cars and trucks worldwide in the third quarter than anytime since 1980.

Daniel Howes says the GM's record sales are largely powered by the relatively positive markets in North America and China. But in a lot of other parts of the world, the sales stink for GM as well as its competitors. 

The auto industry will grow at a faster pace than the economy as a whole in 2012. 

A new report by R.L. Polk says that faster pace will be largely driven by demand for cars in China.

Last year, the Chinese government ended subsidies for fuel-efficient cars, and as a result, car sales in that country declined from the breakneck pace of 2010.   

But Anthony Pratt of Polk says the Chinese middle class is still growing, as people move by the millions from the countryside into urban areas.