By on May 17, 2010

Whereas Chrysler’s surprise operating profit in the first quarter of this year was achieved mainly through cost-cutting, GM’s just-announced Q1 profit comes on the strength of sales increases in most of its global markets. Though The General’s sales numbers are still lower than they need to be, momentum is headed in the right direction… albeit somewhat more slowly than had been hoped.

GM’s long-suffering North American operations came roaring back on the strength of major capacity reductions and steady sales improvements. GM’s NA capacity utilization hit 84.8 percent last quarter, up considerably from Q1 2009′s low of 37.7 percent. By volume, North American sales were up over Q1 2009 as well, with each of GM’s core brands gaining sales.

On face value, these numbers appear to be incredibly rosy for a North American division that was long supported by overseas operations. Digging a little deeper though, it seems that GM is actually just trading water in terms of market share. GM’s US car market share was down even compared to its miserable Q1 results, having lost about half a percent. Truck market share improved by .7 percent, leaving total US market share a wash compared to Q1 2009, at 18.4 percent.

Perhaps the most troubling numbers in GM’s Q1 results have to do with GM’s US retail/fleet mix. In Q1 2009, 20 percent of GM’s car business went to fleets; last quarter, that percentage doubled to 40 percent. Truck fleet percentages increased more moderately, from 15.2 percent to 24.5 percent. GM’s combined US fleet sales mix was 31 percent. That The General was able to turn a profit on its NA operations with those kinds of numbers shows that cost-cutting as well as a sales push were necessary for GM’s Q1 profit.

GM Europe remains the company’s most troubled division, losing half a percentage point of market share, and over half a billion dollars. Opel/Vauxhall shed about two thousand units compared to Q1 2009, while Chevrolet added about 7k units in Europe over the same period. GM’s “other” brands dropped another 8k units of volume, dragging the division to an overall decline.

GM International, which includes the growth markets of China and Latin America, improved its market share by .3 percent over its Q1 2009 result, despite steady increases in volume across all brands.

GM’s surrender of its majority stake in Shanghai GM did not prevent GM from recording the JV’s sales as part of its global market share, though its income from that venture only shows up in the heading “equity income, net of tax,” which contributed $403m to the bottom line. Though Chinese sales are showing signs of slowing since the end of Q1, GM stands by its prediction that its sales there will exceed 2m units this year, according to Automotive News [sub].

More details on GM’s Q1 financial results following the company’s 1pm Eastern conference call.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

6 Comments on “GM Q1 Global Sales: Improving, But Not Dominating...”


  • avatar
    bwell

    Odd that the figures were announced the day before several important primaries and special elections. A coincidence, I’m sure.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Just bought a fine Honda.

    Will NEVER purchase a GM car again.

    Ever!

    • 0 avatar
      Some Guy

      Congrats on buying a car based on its reputation.

      I know a mechanic who says that newer Hondas have noticeable signs of cost-cutting compared to their products from the good old days when Honda built its reputation.

  • avatar
    Geo. Levecque

    Buying anything other than GM is a good idea, from Timming chain problems to over weight vehicles, GM still has not learned it’s Lesson period.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    What’s more telling, if you ask me, is to see the the reports show sales are up, yet they fired the marketing VP and brought in someone else. I wonder what the percentage of profits breaks out when comparing cars to trucks.

  • avatar
    GarbageMotorsCo.

    Fleets sales remain king.

    Keep the Rental-bus. Cobalts, Impala’s and Buicks on the rental car lots and GM will be safe from closure.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

  • Re: Town And Country Update: Road Trip

    nrd515 - A friend of mine is one of those guys who first got married out of high school and had a coupe of kids almost immediately. His mom and her husband live in...
  • Re: Saturation Dive: The GM 8L90 transmission

    SC5door - Until everything else fails around the car. You mention Ultradrive as a jab at Chrysler, yet totally blow off ignition switches, intake gaskets,...
  • Re: New York 2014: Outtakes Part 2 – Expand Your Horizons

    CRConrad - @Chris FOM: “No, the _28 nomenclature was a detuned 3L engine.” Maybe in America, maybe recently elsewhere too. But yes,...
  • Re: Ur-Turn: Need A Lyft?

    tekdemon - The thing is that you get to deduct a pretty hefty deduction on your taxes though so can still work out for you if you drive a lot of miles. I wouldn’t drive...
  • Re: Ur-Turn: Need A Lyft?

    danio3834 - Looking at their website, I’m having trouble figuring out what the exact fees/donations are and what a driver can typically expect to earn. More seating would...
  • Re: Ur-Turn: Need A Lyft?

    tekdemon - Uber drivers definitely double dip, my friend’s gotten a black car the last couple times he used X, and I’ve gotten a huge Denali SUV when I used black (rather...
  • Re: QOTD: The Economics Of Ownership

    danio3834 - The cranks are prescribing as much DIY as feasible for poor people where the economics of doing this does the most to make them less poor. DIYing repairs on an...
  • Re: Ur-Turn: Need A Lyft?

    CRConrad - @7402: “I’ll wait for the first huge civil suit to meander through the appeals system before putting my own car out there.” So you plan on perhaps signing up...
  • Re: New York 2014: Outtakes Part 2 – Expand Your Horizons

    FJ60LandCruiser - I’d rather have a FEW well-executed models than DOZNES of half-assed platform sharing crossovers, wagonoids, and 4...
  • Re: Ur-Turn: Need A Lyft?

    CRConrad - @tankinbeans: “One never knows what kind of crazy lurks out there and I wouldn’t be interested in finding out.” So, you realise Lyft drivers might be...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India