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Signs of Recovery at GM, Asserts New Sales Chief

Economy bottomed out, adds chief analyst, but recovery slow.

by on Oct.28, 2009

New General Motors Sales czar Susan Docherty would rather fight than have you switch to another brand.

New General Motors Sales czar Susan Docherty would rather fight than have you switch to another brand.

While the recovery is just taken hold, there are positive signs in the economy, and that’s translating into some measurable gains for the post-bankruptcy General Motors, company officials declared during a Wednesday meeting with the news media.

The struggling automaker expects to gain share, when the final sales numbers are counted for October, and those cars, trucks and crossovers are rolling out of dealer lots at a higher transaction price than a year ago, said Susan Docherty, GM’s new director of sales.  Residuals – industry speak for projected trade-in values – are rising and the automaker is hoping to “dial back” on incentives, which remain the highest in the industry.

But Docherty, who assumed her new post just nine days ago, also acknowledged that GM has some significant challenges ahead of it.  For one thing, it has to improve its standing in the annual and highly influential Consumer Reports magazine survey of vehicle dependability.  In a news conference just yesterday, CR editors said that GM’s performance is “inconsistent,” at best.

Keep Track of the Market's Momentum!

Keep Track of the Market's Momentum!

The carmaker’s mediocre performance is “one of the things that keeps me up at night,” said Docherty, who was previously in charge of the Buick-Pontiac-GMC brand group.
“Clearly, there are signs of an economic recovery from the worst recession in 70 years,” noted Mike Di Giovanni, GM’s chief market analyst, who joined Docherty for today’s briefing.  But he warned that while the worst may be over, the economy has a long way to go, and so does the auto industry.

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