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GM May Sales Up 17%

Company is showing signs of a recovery, but more retail sales are needed among the surviving brands.

by on Jun.02, 2010

Dealers for the four remaining brands at General Motors – Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC – sold more than 222,000 vehicles in May, up 32% from the year earlier when GM was bankrupt. Retail retail sales were up 11%.

This is the fifth consecutive month of double-digit increases, but if you look at the sales total of the previous eight brands, GM’s turn around is running at a sales increase of only 17%. How this tracks with the industry won’t be clear until late today when final May sales numbers are available, but preliminary estimates show an increase of about 19%.

GM’s fleet sales are running at about, gulp,  37% of the total, which works against the profitability the  taxpayer-owned company needs to achieve so that it can go public again.  GM  executives say the plan is to trim fleet to 25% by the end of the year. Incentives at an average of $2,250 per vehicle are up $200 a unit from April. Toyota’s aggressive incentive programs appear to be damping attempts by makers to raise prices now that inventory levels are under control due to the massive cutbacks invoked last year.

Year-to-date sales for GM’s four brands have risen 31% to 874,749 units – an increase of 206,994 units compared to a year ago.

GM’s newest products are doing particularly well. Year-to-date, combined sales of the Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Camaro, Buick LaCrosse and Regal, GMC Terrain and Cadillac SRX and CTS Wagon are up 323%.

Chevrolet dealers reported sales of 167,235 – 31% higher than May, 2009. Retail sales for the brand were 19% higher for the month. Retail sales for Chevrolet’s popular full-size pickups, Silverado and Avalanche, increased 14%, while retail sales for the Suburban rose 73%. The Chevrolet Silverado, Equinox, Traverse, Avalanche, Malibu and Camaro all posted year-over-year retail sales increases of 10% or more.

Buick sales rose 37% for the month to 12,582 – the eighth consecutive month of double-digit year-over-year sales increases led by the LaCrosse and Enclave. Retail sales for Buick rose 46% during May. Buick LaCrosse retail sales increased 191% for the month. Year-to-date sales of the LaCrosse have increased 162%.

GMC sales of 30,160 were 26% higher than last year, while retail sales for the brand were up 37%. Retail sales of the GMC Terrain continued to gain momentum, with sales increasing 350% for the year-to-date (read more).

Cadillac sales increased 54% to 12,328, while retail sales improved 43% for the month. CTS retail sales improved 7% for the month, and year-to-date sales of the SRX are 439% higher than a year ago.

Month-end dealer inventory in the U.S. stood at about 408,000 units, which is about 22,000 lower compared to April 2010, and about 267,000 lower than May 2009.

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General Motors May 2010 U.S. Sales

May (Calendar Year-to-Date)
January -  May
2010 2009 % Chg Volume %Chg per S/D 2010 2009 %Chg Volume
Selling Days (S/D) 26 26
Enclave 4,715 4,103 14.9 14.9 21,686 17,105 26.8
LaCrosse 5,452 1,748 211.9 211.9 25,033 7,978 213.8
Lucerne 2,265 3,307 -31.5 -31.5 10,030 13,516 -25.8
Rainier 0 0 ***.* ***.* 0 3 ***.*
Regal 150 0 ***.* ***.* 150 0 ***.*
Rendezvous 0 0 ***.* ***.* 0 1 ***.*
Terraza 0 2 ***.* ***.* 0 19 ***.*
Buick Total 12,582 9,160 37.4 37.4 56,899 38,622 47.3
CTS 3,489 2,914 19.7 19.7 14,892 17,366 -14.2
DTS 2,263 1,520 48.9 48.9 7,423 6,483 14.5
Escalade 1,332 1,831 -27.3 -27.3 6,506 6,506 0.0
Escalade ESV 565 372 51.9 51.9 2,781 2,449 13.6
Escalade EXT 136 143 -4.9 -4.9 666 1,072 -37.9
SRX 4,081 541 654.3 654.3 18,851 3,178 493.2
STS 441 637 -30.8 -30.8 1,736 2,694 -35.6
XLR 21 69 -69.6 -69.6 142 362 -60.8
Cadillac Total 12,328 8,027 53.6 53.6 52,997 40,110 32.1
Avalanche 1,909 1,021 87.0 87.0 7,459 5,801 28.6
Aveo 3,888 2,067 88.1 88.1 14,749 9,669 52.5
Camaro 8,931 5,463 63.5 63.5 38,838 6,077 539.1
Chevy C/T Series 3 1 200.0 200.0 7 13 -46.2
Chevy W Series 21 45 -53.3 -53.3 164 325 -49.5
Cobalt 16,173 12,764 26.7 26.7 67,253 44,829 50.0
Colorado 2,535 3,610 -29.8 -29.8 9,776 13,999 -30.2
Corvette 1,428 1,643 -13.1 -13.1 4,950 6,102 -18.9
Equinox 13,134 3,689 256.0 256.0 55,500 21,043 163.7
Express 6,247 5,988 4.3 4.3 21,724 20,846 4.2
HHR 10,412 9,671 7.7 7.7 32,072 24,531 30.7
Impala 20,623 18,709 10.2 10.2 75,040 63,756 17.7
Kodiak 4/5 Series 149 321 -53.6 -53.6 791 1,623 -51.3
Kodiak 6/7/8 Series 39 73 -46.6 -46.6 119 452 -73.7
Malibu 21,722 14,098 54.1 54.1 87,597 64,363 36.1
Monte Carlo 0 0 ***.* ***.* 0 3 ***.*
Silverado-C/K Pickup 33,690 31,463 7.1 7.1 135,788 125,183 8.5
Suburban (Chevy) 5,279 2,631 100.6 100.6 18,246 12,763 43.0
Tahoe 9,397 6,306 49.0 49.0 29,881 28,101 6.3
TrailBlazer 10 739 -98.6 -98.6 154 6,138 -97.5
Traverse 11,641 7,045 65.2 65.2 40,900 33,390 22.5
Uplander 4 163 -97.5 -97.5 54 1,213 -95.5
Chevrolet Total 167,235 127,510 31.2 31.2 641,062 490,220 30.8
Acadia 5,823 4,974 17.1 17.1 29,462 22,726 29.6
Canyon 639 1,140 -43.9 -43.9 2,991 4,429 -32.5
Envoy 6 465 -98.7 -98.7 57 2,931 -98.1
GMC C/T Series 4 16 -75.0 -75.0 49 170 -71.2
GMC W Series 39 150 -74.0 -74.0 245 663 -63.0
Savana 1,494 1,619 -7.7 -7.7 5,390 6,793 -20.7
Sierra 11,305 10,272 10.1 10.1 44,167 41,053 7.6
Terrain 5,132 0 ***.* ***.* 22,512 2 ***.*
Topkick 4/5 Series 86 234 -63.2 -63.2 663 1,014 -34.6
Topkick 6/7/8 Series 71 154 -53.9 -53.9 218 792 -72.5
Yukon 2,782 3,979 -30.1 -30.1 9,551 12,521 -23.7
Yukon XL 2,779 923 201.1 201.1 8,486 5,709 48.6
GMC Total 30,160 23,926 26.1 26.1 123,791 98,803 25.3
Brand Total 222,305 168,623 31.8 31.8 874,749 667,755 31.0
HUMMER Total 1,290 1,094 17.9 17.9 2,626 5,113 -48.6
Pontiac Total 181 13,329 -98.6 -98.6 815 65,054 -98.7
Saab Total 0 783 ***.* ***.* 608 4,607 -86.8
Saturn Total 46 8,046 -99.4 -99.4 6,343 35,256 -82.0
Other Brand Total 1,517 23,252 -93.5 -93.5 10,392 110,030 -90.6
GM Total 223,822 191,875 16.6 16.6 885,141 777,785 13.8

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2 Responses to “GM May Sales Up 17%”

  1. Lee Miskowski says:

    Two observations: (1) there is an inference that percentage increases of the remaining GM brands are the exclusive key to market performance; of course they are, but a little arithmetic will reveal that the sales of these brands must be significantly higher on a continuing basis to make up for the loss of the discontinued makes. My belief is that dropping of brands, or important models, is almost always tantamount to loss of market share. (2)”Fleet” sales now seem to be more profitable than history would suggest; and it is important to differentiate between types (corporate, daily rental,etc. as the deals differ significantly.

    • Ken Zino says:

      Lee: Both your points are well taken. The “core four” brands must pick up the slack, and then grow.

      And, 2, how to rate fleet sales regarding their profitability is not possible with the numbers available to an outsider.

      The numbers I do have show that in the last quarter, all of GM’s return to black ink can be attributed to the relief GM got from interest payments on its debt that went away because of the bankruptcy.