General Motors (GM) said its sales growth in China slowed in the first half of the year due to rising competition from Toyota and Volkswagen, Bloomberg reported. GM sold 590,000 vehicles in the country over the first six months of 2008, up 14% from a year earlier, according to Joseph Liu, the company’s vice president for China. In 2007, sales growth was 19%. GM has yet to release any new models in China so far this year, while Toyota has launched the Yaris and Volkswagen has introduced the Lavida. Both vehicles are compact models. China is GM’s second-most profitable market worldwide, generating net profits of US$826 million in the first quarter, compared with a US$812 million loss in North America. GM plans to invest as much as US$5 billion in China over five years through 2012. It plans to launch a new Buick sedan in the first quarter of 2009 to compete with Toyota’s Camry and Volkswagen’s Magotan.