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May 2009: GM Sales

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[source: General Motors]

FOR RELEASE: 2009-06-02

GM Gains Share For The Second Consecutive Month With 191,875 Deliveries in May

Highest Monthly Sales Performance So Far in 2009

  • May results clearly reflect consumer confidence in GM's long-term viability
  • May was the third consecutive month of monthly sales increases led by core brands: Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac which were up 18 percent collectively compared with April
  • 5,500 total Camaro sales smashes sales forecast as dealers sell cars as soon as they arrive
  • Award-winning crossovers Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook and Chevrolet Traverse sales push mid-utility crossover retail sales up 15 percent compared with April
DETROIT - General Motors dealers in the United States delivered 191,875 vehicles in May, down 29.6 percent compared with a year ago. However, when comparing GM's May sales with April, total volume was up 11 percent, or about 19,000 cars, crossovers and trucks resulting in the best monthly sales performance so far in 2009.

"We were able to record our best monthly sales result of the year in May as we are seeing more positive signs in housing and consumer confidence in the market," said Mark LaNeve, vice president, GM North America Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing. "Those signs, along with more clarity on the New GM, are providing some additional consumer confidence. With GM's reinvention, the company has cleared a path for future success supported by world-class products such as the new Chevy Camaro, Equinox, Traverse and Malibu. We have compelling new offers in the marketplace, including reduced-rate financing available through GMAC, that encourage our customers to visit a showroom and buy today."

GM total truck sales (including crossovers) of 110,866 were down 22 percent, and car sales of 81,009 were off 38 percent compared with a year ago.

When compared with April's performance, there were several product highlights in GM's core brands to note:

  • Chevrolet car retail sales were up 28 percent driven by Camaro, Malibu, Cobalt, Corvette and Aveo. Silverado, Colorado, HHR, Equinox, Tahoe and Traverse also saw retail sales increases with Chevrolet retail truck sales up 30 percent. Total Chevrolet vehicle retail sales increased 22 percent
  • Buick Enclave retail sales increased 17 percent. LaCrosse retail sales climbed 24 percent as Buick retail sales increased 4 percent
  • Cadillac Escalade retail sales increased nearly 14 percent, and DTS sales climbed 3 percent
  • GMC retail sales were up 17 percent. Retail sales increases of 30 percent for Sierra, 17 percent for Canyon, 13 percent for Yukon and 8 percent for Acadia were reported
"What was lost in all the financial turmoil is that our outstanding products continue to compete strongly in the market and Camaro is a red-hot example," LaNeve said. "We sold 5,500 Camaros in May without any incentives, and are continuing to deliver them to customers as fast as we possibly can. We are dominating the full-size pickup segment with Silverado and Sierra, as well as offering the best selection of crossovers with Traverse, Acadia, Outlook and Enclave. Importantly, Traverse was just recognized by a leading consumer publication as getting a "Very Good" rating in its most recent ranking of crossovers with third-row seating. Less than a year after initial launch, Traverse is now neck-and-neck in sales with our foreign competition.

"The President's comments yesterday were very positive and we are deeply appreciative of the support of our company," LaNeve added. "The President again restated our shared belief that GM will be a part of a strong and viable auto industry for many years to come, and customers should feel very comfortable buying our outstanding cars, crossovers and trucks."

A total of 1,739 GM hybrid vehicles were delivered in the month, illustrating the wide range of hybrid product offerings available. GM offers the Chevrolet Malibu, Tahoe and Silverado, GMC Yukon and Sierra, Cadillac Escalade, Saturn Aura and Vue hybrids. So far, in 2009, GM has delivered 6,895 hybrid vehicles.

GM inventories dropped compared with a year ago, and were at their second-lowest monthly level on record. At the end of May, about 674,000 vehicles were in stock, down about 98,000 vehicles (or 13 percent) compared with last year. There were about 284,000 cars and 390,000 trucks (including crossovers) in inventory at the end of May. Inventories were reduced about 67,000 vehicles compared with April and are down approximately 16 percent compared with January.

GM Certified Sales

GM Certified Used Vehicles, Saturn Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, Saab Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, and HUMMER Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, combined sold 33,633 vehicles.

GM Certified Used Vehicles, the industry's top-selling certified brand, posted May sales of 28,802 vehicles, down 28 percent from May 2008. Saturn Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 1,103 vehicles, down 23 percent. Saab Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 488 vehicles, down 42 percent. Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 3,018 vehicles, down 18 percent. One brand showed an uptick: HUMMER Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 222 vehicles, up 16 percent.

"We are more optimistic about the market as GM enters this new chapter," said LaNeve. "Our Certified Used and Pre-Owned vehicle programs fall in line with the new GM as we offer the best peace of mind experience for customers when purchasing a used vehicle. We will honor our warranty commitment given at the time of purchase to owners of current and future General Motors Certified Used and Pre-Owned Vehicles, such as the 12-month/12,000 bumper-to-bumper warranty for Certified Used and Pre-Owned vehicles, and focus on the customers' needs from their sales to service experience. Going forward, we and our dealers will offer the consumer nothing less than the best cars and trucks --- both new and Certified Used and Pre-Owned vehicles."

GM North America reports May 2009 production; Q2 2009 production forecast remains at 390,000 vehicles

In May, GM North America produced 134,000 vehicles (58,000 cars and 76,000 trucks). This is down 114,000 vehicles or 46 percent compared with May 2008 when the region produced 248,000 vehicles (118,000 cars and 130,000 trucks). (Production totals include joint venture production of 8,000 vehicles in May 2009 and 17,000 vehicles in May 2008.)

The region's 2009 second-quarter production forecast remains at 390,000 vehicles (172,000 cars and 218,000 trucks), which is down about 53 percent compared with a year ago. GM North America built 834,000 vehicles (382,000 cars and 452,000 trucks) in the second quarter of 2008.

About GM: General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), one of the world's largest automakers, was founded in 1908, and today manufactures cars and trucks in 34 countries. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 235,000 people in every major region of the world, and sells and services vehicles in some 140 countries. In 2008, GM sold 8.35 million cars and trucks globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Hummer, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and Germany. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

Note: GM sales and production results are available on GM Media OnLine at http://media.gm.com/us/gm/en by clicking on News, then Sales/Production. In this press release and related comments by General Motors management, we use words like "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "forecast," "objective," "plan," "goal" and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements, representing our current judgment about possible future events. We believe these judgments are reasonable, but actual results may differ materially due to a variety of important factors. Among other items, such factors might include: our ability to have the 363 sale approved by the Bankruptcy Court and to complete it on an expedited timeline; our ability to sustain vehicle sales in the U.S. and globally while we carry out our restructuring plans; the ability of our foreign subsidiaries to restructure, enter into the new investment arrangements they have announced, and receive other financial support from their local governments; our ability to build consumers' confidence in our viability following Chapter 11 proceedings and to continue to attract customers, particularly for our new products; our ability to continue to sell, spin-off or phase out some of our brands, to manage the distribution channels for our products, and to complete other planned asset sales; and the overall strength and stability of general economic conditions and of the automotive industry, both in the U.S. and globally. GM's most recent annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly report on Form 10-Q provide information about these factors, which may be revised or supplemented in future reports to the SEC on Form 10-Q or 8-K.

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Let's just hope that as GM comes back to life, Cheers and Gears follows suit.

That being said...way to go GM!

Chris

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So.... wait... Honda, Toyota, Nissan all down more than GM with the Civic, all of Scion, Corolla, and 4Runner all down over 50% yet if only GM would sell cars Americans want to buy......

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Time for another editorial mentioning the Cimmerson and the Aztek, methinks.

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So.... wait... Honda, Toyota, Nissan all down more than GM with the Civic, all of Scion, Corolla, and 4Runner all down over 50% yet if only GM would sell cars Americans want to buy......

Camry down 36%

Accord down 46%

Chevy is doin ok.

Taken out of context. Read my comment in the Honda May sales thread (at least regarding Honda).

Accord: 22,597

Malibu: 14,098

The Malibu is certainly doing well. Don't forget incentive spending at GM is double or more than double that at Honda, and GM still sells considerably higher percentages of vehicles to fleets, including the Malibu.

GM is doing very good given the circumstances. June monthly sales should be quite telling. It will be interesting to see what the bankruptcy does to their sales.

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Time for another editorial mentioning the Cimmerson and the Aztek, methinks.

There was something on the front page of Yahoo this morning with both of those cars and something like "Worst cars GM ever made"

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To put this better into perspective:

May 2008

GM down 30.2%

Ford down 16.0%

Nissan up 4.4%

Honda up 11.3%

I'm sure you all know I don't really care about Toyota, but they were down a year ago and down about 38% this month.

The fact that Honda and Nissan were up last year and GM and Ford were down, especially the difference between GM and Honda, makes this month seem extra positive for GM when taken out of context. If you were down 30% last year, and down 30% this year, it is quite a bit worse than being up 11% last year, and down 39% this year, even though the percentages will seem to favor GM this year.

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To put this better into perspective:

May 2008

GM down 30.2%

Ford down 16.0%

Nissan up 4.4%

Honda up 11.3%

I'm sure you all know I don't really care about Toyota, but they were down a year ago and down about 38% this month.

The fact that Honda and Nissan were up last year and GM and Ford were down, especially the difference between GM and Honda, makes this month seem extra positive for GM when taken out of context. If you were down 30% last year, and down 30% this year, it is quite a bit worse than being up 11% last year, and down 39% this year, even though the percentages will seem to favor GM this year.

But in people's perception GM is expected to be down as it does not build cars that people want, Honda is not as it builds cars that people want, yet it is down. There are no excuses siegen, Honda despite of having fuel efficient lineup is suffering more than GM regardless.

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To put this better into perspective:

May 2008

GM down 30.2%

Ford down 16.0%

Nissan up 4.4%

Honda up 11.3%

I'm sure you all know I don't really care about Toyota, but they were down a year ago and down about 38% this month.

The fact that Honda and Nissan were up last year and GM and Ford were down, especially the difference between GM and Honda, makes this month seem extra positive for GM when taken out of context. If you were down 30% last year, and down 30% this year, it is quite a bit worse than being up 11% last year, and down 39% this year, even though the percentages will seem to favor GM this year.

Uhm.. not really. going from up 11% to down 39% is a much bigger fall.

Still, I think these year over year percentages are a somewhat silly and arbitrary way to rate performance. I think current month's sales should be compared to an average of the prior 12 month's sales.

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But in people's perception GM is expected to be down as it does not build cars that people want, Honda is not as it builds cars that people want, yet it is down. There are no excuses siegen, Honda despite of having fuel efficient lineup is suffering more than GM regardless.

What he says still makes sense though. If Honda had a record month May 08, it could be hard to match that a year later, and even harder in the middle of a recession. If you had a 30% decline May 08, then a 30% decline in 09, that is much worse.

30% decline over 2 years is a 51% decline

11% increase then 39% decline is a 32% decline over 2 years

Honda lost a little less than a third of their volume, while GM lost more than half.

Edited by CaddyXLR-V
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But in people's perception GM is expected to be down as it does not build cars that people want, Honda is not as it builds cars that people want, yet it is down. There are no excuses siegen, Honda despite of having fuel efficient lineup is suffering more than GM regardless.

GM does build cars that people want. But the way they ran their business was inefficient and inflexible. When auto sales fell 30% industry-wide, and the demand for vehicles shifted from large SUV's and trucks to more fuel efficient cars (although not as big of a swing as most people make it seem), GM was unable to adapt. That is the main reason they failed IMO. Having some duds for product didn't help, but GM had a lot of good product too.

Honda is not suffering more than GM. Caddy summed up what I was trying to say nicely.

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G8 up 68% and its going away....

Chris

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G8 up 68% and its going away....

Chris

I bet most of them were people like me running out and buying their last Pontiac. Most were GT and GXP models I have a feeling. G8 V6 models will set like left-overs well into 2010 I think. Good sales month, very good. Pontiac still outsold Buick, even though Pontiac is getting the axe. GM how stupid can you get?

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G8 up 68% and its going away....

Chris

But that could be because it's being heavily discounted and those in the "know" are trying to grab them before they're gone.

This car needs to be a 2010 Impala or Caprice IMO. (with modern Chevy type styling of course)

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Yes to that car carrying on with a bow-tie...

Chris

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There was something on the front page of Yahoo this morning with both of those cars and something like "Worst cars GM ever made"

not from my standpoint. 106,000 miles on my aztek and 0 out of pocket repairs. brakes (once) tires (once) and oil changes is all.....and at least 10 grand cheaper than a pilot. hard to say that's worst when i can just amass miles and barely pay for it or never fix anything,

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What he says still makes sense though. If Honda had a record month May 08, it could be hard to match that a year later, and even harder in the middle of a recession. If you had a 30% decline May 08, then a 30% decline in 09, that is much worse.

30% decline over 2 years is a 51% decline

11% increase then 39% decline is a 32% decline over 2 years

Honda lost a little less than a third of their volume, while GM lost more than half.

GM does build cars that people want. But the way they ran their business was inefficient and inflexible. When auto sales fell 30% industry-wide, and the demand for vehicles shifted from large SUV's and trucks to more fuel efficient cars (although not as big of a swing as most people make it seem), GM was unable to adapt. That is the main reason they failed IMO. Having some duds for product didn't help, but GM had a lot of good product too.

Honda is not suffering more than GM. Caddy summed up what I was trying to say nicely.

Let me rephrase what I said, given the vehicles Honda claims it has it should be suffering a lot less compared to the mayhem which was expected from GM since it was tottering on bankruptcy, people being against buying vehicles from a to be bankrupt manufacturer. I can understand how much sale GM lost in two years, and if we go back a step further GM has certainly lost a lot if you add those numbers in too and that is not the point.

Yeah I get that once the peak reaches you have no where to go but down and I do also get that economy is in tatters, but if Honda was a holy grail of a car company and that Civic is a car to have it should not suffer more than the company which is a corpse. As a matter of fact, over the past two months Honda has lost a lot. Honda should not have seen sharper declines than GM if it is a deserved car manufacturer irrespective of whether it reached peak or not. It should have seen sales drop less than GM. If GM was unable to adapt then it should have gotten slaughtered even more.

Yes we do know GM builds cars people want, but once you step outside this website, hardly anybody notices, other than few auto buffs that is why I used perceptions when I made the statement not reality.

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So.... wait... Honda, Toyota, Nissan all down more than GM with the Civic, all of Scion, Corolla, and 4Runner all down over 50% yet if only GM would sell cars Americans want to buy......

Wow it's like you're reading my mind. I'm sick of the media Toyota ______hangers digging GM a grave when the exalted Toyota is selling less cars and losing MORE MONEY. It's just sickening- Three companies that have contributed more to the American landscape than any other entire industry and the public is eager to sell them all for Tundras and cheap-ass made in China electronics. No country has remained a convincing world power without a credible manufacturing base. ever.

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(Please excuse my long post)

Let me rephrase what I said, given the vehicles Honda claims it has it should be suffering a lot less compared to the mayhem which was expected from GM since it was tottering on bankruptcy, people being against buying vehicles from a to be bankrupt manufacturer.

The vehicles Honda claims it has are the same vehicles every manufacturer claims it has, including GM. If a manufacturer isn't confident in their product who will be? The consensus that Honda products are far and away better than anything available elsewhere tends to be perpetuated mostly by forums like these, surprisingly. That certainly isn't the attitude at vtec.net, nor is it at auto magazines anymore.

I can understand how much sale GM lost in two years, and if we go back a step further GM has certainly lost a lot if you add those numbers in too and that is not the point.

It is the point though. Five years ago there were 400,000 people willing and able to purchase GM vehicles in a Summer month. That was before most of GM's "good" vehicles. GM has lost over half of its volume now, despite having the best products it has ever had. The troubles GM is having are taking their toll and ravishing GM, but GM still has a lot more potential customers and is a much larger company than Honda. Being able to hold on to half of their volume, despite the fear of bankruptcy, isn't absurd IMO. And like I said earlier, this June's sales will be the most telling to determine just how much the bankruptcy will hurt GM, since it wasn't certain until May 30th that they would be filing.

Yeah I get that once the peak reaches you have no where to go but down and I do also get that economy is in tatters, but if Honda was a holy grail of a car company and that Civic is a car to have it should not suffer more than the company which is a corpse.

Expecting the Civic to sell at pre-recession levels during the recession is silly. Expecting it to sell as much as it did during its best month ever, when it was 20+% above good economy levels already, is ever sillier. I don't consider the Civic to be a big stand out from others anymore, and I wouldn't expect it to buck the automotive trend any more than any other vehicle. The current generation is 4 years old after all.

I don't consider GM a corpse. They are in bankruptcy, but it is obvious to anyone who watches the news that the government is fully committed to turning them around in a couple months. GM also has some excellent vehicles, and a lot of money on the hood.

As a matter of fact, over the past two months Honda has lost a lot.

Sure they have, but not nearly as much as everyone else. The important thing to consider is each manufacturer's "average" selling rate and how down they are compared to it. Honda's average selling rate has been 100,000~ in the Winter and 140,000~ in the Summer, consistently for several years. During the recession, so far, their average has dropped to 75,000 during the Winter and 100,000 during the Summer. Compared to their average before the recession, that is a 25-30% drop, which is considerably better than the industry average so far. When you look at an irregular month such as May, where they sold 167,000, you have to avoid taking it out of context. Honda doesn't sell that many cars normally; they wouldn't even have the capacity to sell that many per month if they could. If you talk to dealers, most will tell you that inventories were extremely low after that month.

May '09 - 98,344

Apr '09 - 101,029

Mar '09 - 88,379

Feb '09 - 71,575

Jan '09 - 71,031

Dec '08 - 86,085

Nov '08 - 76,233

Oct '08 - 85,864

Sept '08 - 96,626

Aug '08 - 146,855

Jul '08 - 138,744

Jun '08 - 142,539

May '08 - 167,997

Apr '08 - 135,180

Mar '08 - 138,734

Feb '08 - 115,397

Jan '08 - 98,511

For good measure:

April 2009

Honda 101,029

GM 173,007

April 2008

Honda 135,180

GM 260,922

April 2007

Honda 126,419

GM 311,687

April 2006

Honda 139,124

GM 345,404

April 2005

Honda 135,597

GM 385,939

April 2004

Honda 114,929

GM 401,451

April 2003

Honda 117,783

GM 400,687

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Regardless of your long post you are still not getting the point. What I meant was the rate of drop in sales of Honda is higher than GM's given what GM has been going through in recent past - considering in people's perception Honda is a much better car company than GM, considering GM is in bankruptcy mode, considering automobile magazines, reviewers give five thumbs up to most of Honda's products compared to muted Hurray to GM's products.

GM's trend of sales has been declining for a long time so it is a moot point as another decline possibly with a higher rate given the economic situation is in-sync with that trend. Honda should show a smaller rate of decline, than GM's because it being perceived as a better company with a better car product portfolio in common people's perception. And common people do not browse VEE-Tyak or other forums they read Consumer Reports, Edmunds, which give Honda the best medals. Common people's opinions are like the ones of the receptionist at my office, who bought Honda Civic based on Consumer Reports, and told me Mini and BMW 128i are based on the same FWD platform.

I have not made comments of sales of Civic equaling pre-recession level. I am agreeing with you that Honda will suffer too because of the economy, but if it is perceived as a better company then it should not suffer more than a company which is not perceived to be nearly as good.

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Regardless of your long post you are still not getting the point. What I meant was the rate of drop in sales of Honda is higher than GM's given what GM has been going through in recent past - considering in people's perception Honda is a much better car company than GM, considering GM is in bankruptcy mode, considering automobile magazines, reviewers give five thumbs up to most of Honda's products compared to muted Hurray to GM's products.

GM's trend of sales has been declining for a long time so it is a moot point as another decline possibly with a higher rate given the economic situation is in-sync with that trend. Honda should show a smaller rate of decline, than GM's because it being perceived as a better company with a better car product portfolio in common people's perception. And common people do not browse VEE-Tyak or other forums they read Consumer Reports, Edmunds, which give Honda the best medals. Common people's opinions are like the ones of the receptionist at my office, who bought Honda Civic based on Consumer Reports, and told me Mini and BMW 128i are based on the same FWD platform.

I have not made comments of sales of Civic equaling pre-recession level. I am agreeing with you that Honda will suffer too because of the economy, but if it is perceived as a better company then it should not suffer more than a company which is not perceived to be nearly as good.

Why does it really matter? GM had a better month than Honda. Great. Until GM can consistantly do that month after month, and year after year, I don't see a cause for celebration. GM has A LOT of work to do, and GM's sales are going to decline further. Just wait until Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer, and Saab aren't selling vehicles anymore, at least not for GM. Beating down Honda on this site will not make GM a stronger company.

Edited by CaddyXLR-V
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Until people get real money and real jobs and the economy decides to do something other than tank...both companies will suffer.

A marketplace of 6.5 million new vehicles/year isn't impossible...

Chris

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