By on May 1, 2009

GM was able to move 173,007 units last month (press release here, sales chart in PDF format), up 11 percent from March but down 34 percent from last April. Cars fared worst in GM Land, falling 40 percent across all brands, while truck totals were down only 27 percent. Buick outsold Cadillac 8,928 to 8,337, but the defunctified Pontiac outsold both at 10,838. Watch for those numbers to tank next month, though, since the death was announced late enough in April to not affect prices overly. GM’s worst-performing cars were Buick LaCrosse (-62 percent), Caddy STS (-62.6 percent on 711 units sold), Aveo (-63 percent), G5 (-78 percent, 400 units), Cobalt (down by over 8,000 units), Solstice/Sky (barely cracking 500 sales between the two nameplates) and Aura (-66.6 percent). GM’s car high points were the Buick Lucerne (-20.8), Malibu (-14 percent, 14,665 units), Pontiac G8 (-5 percent, 2,013 units) and Astra, down only 9.6 percent (compared to consistently weak sales last year). Chevy’s HHR was up 7.5 percent (don’t ask why it’s categorized as a truck), Tahoe held even at just over 8,000 units and Suburban was down only 6.3 percent.

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14 Comments on “GM Sales Beat Toyota As Well, Down 34 Percent...”


  • avatar
    RickCanadian

    Wow, I’m really surprised. I can’t see it as a reversal of the trend or anything, but I didn’t expect this. Does it mean that people are not that afraid of buying from a bankrupt company? Or just that cheaper cars sell better than more expensive ones (Toyota) in hard times? Please somebody explain.

  • avatar

    Sounds to me like they’ve found bottom, only to have the announcement of brand eliminations rip it back out this month.

    Saturn was clearly taking a big hit already. Pontiac–those might have mostly been fleet sales, anyway. How many G6s are sold retail? I suspect that the only Pontiac with decent retail sales was the G8. Which they did an astoundingly poor job contenting and marketing, or it would have sold much better than it did.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Could you change the picture? That HHR is ug-leee.

    How was GM doing for transaction prices? Massive rebates, loan buydowns and cash under the table to GMAC for leasing?

  • avatar

    Also goes to show that for all the kvetching the media and Washington are doing about fuel efficiency, people are still buying trucks. Cheap gas will still lure the buyers, and most are probably betting on a good 2-3 years of use of their new SUVs before the gas prices become crushing again.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    The W-body LaCrosse is out of production or winding down in Oshawa. They’re preparing for EpII LaX in Fairfax. Might explain the larger-than-usual decline.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    HHR is a truck for CAFE reasons (also see: Subaru Outback Wagon). Doesn’t GM have a couple hundred days’ supply of them?

  • avatar
    heaven_on_mars

    Toyota sales maybe lower than GM, but GM seems to giving away their vehicles. They are offering zero percent loan rates and tons of factory cash. No wonder GM is burning through cash when they appear to be dumping vehicles at big losses. It would be interesting to see what the whole picture is when looking at Toyota sales versus GM sales. Last I checked, Toyota is a stable company while GM is heading for C11.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Two words:

    Swine flu

    ba-dump-bump *crash*

    And speaking of toyota’s stability, how did anybody miss this story?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/30/business/global/30toyota.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=toyota%20city&st=cse

  • avatar
    mfh

    Chrysler’s 48% sounds bad. What would be GM’s #
    if they didn’t pump up their non retail sales this
    month. Gm would be down probably at least as much
    as Chrysler, maybe even more. Good news is good if
    it is truely retail sales, not fleet and what not.Does anyone know what the real #’s are for retail only?

  • avatar
    Bridge2far

    I see that these statistics truly hurt the Toyota fans. Of course there must be a million excuses why the mighty Toyota finished well behind the General and Ford…

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Of course there must be a million excuses why the mighty Toyota finished well behind the General and Ford

    Actually, there are 2,640 reasons. That’s the difference in dollars of the average incentive being paid by GM and what is being paid by Toyota.

    All of you need to look at the incentives. The domestic incentives are shooting through the roof, and Hyundai’s are almost as high as Ford’s. Averages for last month:

    Chrysler Group – $4,288
    General Motors – $4,063
    Ford (incl. Volvo) – $3,636
    Hyundai (Hyundai, Kia) – $3,591
    Industry Average – $3,031
    Nissan (Infiniti, Nissan) - $2,779
    Toyota (Lexus, Scion, Toyota) – $1,648
    Honda (Acura, Honda) – $1,439

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Edmundscom-Reports-True-Cost-bw-15103462.html?.v=1

    Honda and Toyota have increased their incentives, too, but they are still lower now than what the domestics pay out when times are good. Honda and Toyota are responding to these times by cutting production, moreso than incentives. Detroit is paying people to take the cars, as usual.

    Comparing all brands, in April Scion spent the least, $160 per vehicle sold, followed by Subaru at $884. At the other end of the spectrum, Cadillac spent the most, $5,675 per vehicle sold, followed by Infiniti at $5,504. Relative to their vehicle prices, Kia and Mercury spent the most, 20.9 percent and 16.2 percent of sticker price, respectively; while Scion spent 0.9 and Lexus spent 3.3 percent.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Sales are a little off on the LaCrosse?Shocking really,unless one would take into account,that W Buick ceased production 6 months ago.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Actually, there are 2,640 reasons. That’s the difference in dollars of the average incentive being paid by GM and what is being paid by Toyota.

    Going by that logic, Toyota should’ve been been outsold by Chrysler, Nissan, and Hyundai as well.

    It was such a point of pride when Toyota overtook GM for worldwide and then North American sales that they did so without relying on dealer and factory incentives. Now we’re saying these same incentives that failed to carry GM past Toyota is what allowed GM to pass Toyota for the month?

    No, the truth obviously lies elsewhere. I’m surprised somebody hasn’t gone running around
    screaming, “FLEET SALES!!!”

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Going by that logic, Toyota should’ve been been outsold by Chrysler, Nissan, and Hyundai as well.

    I don’t follow how you extrapolate that conclusion from the data.

    On this site, it’s an old story, but it bears repeating — the domestics give away the cars at prices far below the competition. If you want to know why they lose money, that’s it.

    Honda and Toyota are dealing the recession by reducing production. They are selling fewer vehicles in large part because they aren’t building as many of them. They would prefer to sell fewer vehicles while maintaining their price points. Compare average inventories, and you can see that they have a lower backlog of unsold cars. They do a far better job of matching production to demand and at maintaining their pricing than can Detroit, and they don’t rely upon mass dumping into fleets.

    We’re already rescuing two of the three Detroit companies, thanks to years of ineptitude catching up with them. Is there some point at which their defenders are going to admit their mistakes, learn from them and move on?


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