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Consumer Confidential: GM loves China, tobacco companies rake it in

July 22, 2010 | 10:10 am

Here's your thick-as-thieves Thursday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--Let them eat Chevys: General Motors might be having troubles at home, but the carmaker is on a tear in China, where sales of GM vehicles rose nearly 50% during the first half of the year over the same period last year. GM says China now accounts for a quarter of global sales. This bodes well for U.S. taxpayers because we're hopefully going to see a healthy return on our bailout investment when GM offers shares to the public again later this year.

--Remember the idea that higher prices for cigarettes would help deter smoking? Not so much, apparently. Some of the world's leading tobacco companies are shrugging off the miserable economy and reporting higher profits thanks to, yes, higher prices for smokes. Marlboro maker Philip Morris International Inc. and Camel maker Reynolds American Inc. have posted higher-than-expected quarterly profits and raised their forecasts for the full year. Clearly stronger measures are required to get the monkey off smokers' backs.

-- David Lazarus