By on August 1, 2008

Happier days for everyoneGM wants you to know the not-so-very-new-anymore Chevy Malibu's total sales were up 79 sales-adjusted percent in July. The penalty box known as the Chevy Aveo was up 17 percent. The Saturn Aura was up 24 percent. And Cadillac CTS sales were up 38 percent. Those are the adjusted numbers they put in the bold print right at the top of their July sales press release. However, the real story: overall sales were down 26.1 percent (unadjusted). The auto side's overall 12 percent decrease was exacerbated by a whopping 36.4 percent drop on the truck side. Something else that's easy to miss is the word "total" in front of some of the sales numbers (like Malibu above). When GM's spinmeisters talk about great "retail" sales of some models, that's a sure sign that fleet sales made up the bulk of the "total" sales mentioned for other models.

Click here for GM sales press release

(Note:  The numbers in the press release are adjusted for sales days, so they will vary from the unadjusted numbers reported here.)

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45 Comments on “GM Drops 26.1%...”


  • avatar
    nevets248

    WOW, those gotta-have Hybrid sales numbers are impressive:
    228 Tahoe hybrids
    123 Yukon
    349 Malibu
    29 Aura
    362 Vue

  • avatar
    KixStart

    GM would prefer you not compare the Malibu’s sales to July of 2006. At this point, the NuBu seems to me to be about on par with the old ‘Bu in its heyday. On at least one occasion, the old ‘Bu did 23K in sales in a single month.

    This vehicle is not going to save the company.

    Also, GM now includes hybrid numbers in the sales report (saves me a lot of time listening to the conference call to see if anyone asks – or cares – about hybrid sales). This month, they sold 1,091 hybrids, which is down again, month-to-month.

    If they can’t do better than that when Priuses are pre-sold for months, it’s time to pull the plug.

  • avatar
    jwltch

    I’m not familiar with the “Certified” used car thing, but why does GM publish that data? Are they making profit from the sale of certified used cars? Or is it just a way to make their product appear to be more in demand by showing increases in used sales?

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    Toyota sold 42,131 Camrys in July vs. 16,237 Malibus.

    Toyota sold 34,438 Corollas in July vs. 16,140 Cobalts.

    Enough said.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    At first Buick’s sales looked pretty bad until I saw the Hummer brand.

    On the bright side – the Aveo is hammering away with a 1.4% uptick. Watch out Honda!

  • avatar
    Snagor

    They may have edited the release after you posted this item. It has spreadsheets that show 26.7% decline overall, and for once they are promoting the monthly total as opposed to the sales day total. The sales day total appears to be -32.4% overall (235,184 (2008), 320,935 (2007)), so they are going with the more favorable number of course.

  • avatar
    Scottie

    Its amazing the crap that is still hanging around on the lots. 6 Monte Carlos, 4 Ions, 29 Terraza’s, 1 Rendezvous

  • avatar
    sellfone

    YTD Hummer is outselling Saab?? I find that truly amazing. Boy has GM completely squandered Saab.

  • avatar
    mikey610

    So each Buick franchise (~2700 of them) sold, on average: 0.76 Lacrosses, 1.49 Lucernes, and 1.44 Enclaves in July…

    Good times…

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Reading the text of the announcement provides more than a few laughs.

    “Pontiac met consumers’ needs for fuel efficient vehicles with a performance edge with G5 sales up 17 percent…”

    Uhh… performance edge? Isn’t this the same damned car as the… never mind. Anyway, the 17% looks impressive until you notice that it’s just 2600 cars.

    “Saturn’s award-winning Aura midsize car saw a sales increase of 24 percent with the two-seat Sky selling 14 percent more vehicles than July last year. Astra monthly sales of more than 1,500 vehicles were the best to date, and show a 75 percent increase compared with June 2008 (Astra was not available last July).”

    All of that good news leads to an overall Saturn decline of 14%.

    “GM hybrid vehicles continue to gain in popularity in the marketplace with … a total of 1,091 hybrid vehicles were delivered, with 5,467 hybrids sold so far this year.”

    Dudes, I hate to tell you this but your hybrid sales are actually trending DOWN.

    ““We’re working hard to change perceptions and gain awareness of GM as the leader in advanced propulsion technology and fuel efficiency,” LaNeve added.”

    The leader? Has GM even noticed a vehicle called “The Prius?” They’re all over the road. They’re so common here, I recently parked between two. The only place I can even find a GM hybrid is at the Chevy dealer (days on lot for the two they have is now at 101 and 85 days). All five GM’s hybrid models don’t match the sales of either of Toyota’s less popular hybrids, the Camry or the Highlander. The Prius has a waiting list and the Yukon/Tahoe hybrids have cash on the hood.

    The press release is like painting a smiley face on a casket.

  • avatar

    Thanks for the hat tip, Frank! :)

    Why are they offering 0% on the CTS for 60 months if its sales were up 38%? Seems that they could have better used that money elsewhere to prop up a failing/declining model.

    The press release is like painting a smiley face on a casket.

    Line of the day – right there!

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The Malibu hybrid is not a bad car, but it’s not a good hybrid. It either needs to be slightly cheaper, or much more fuel efficient, before it moves at all.

    Pretty much the whole GM hybrid experience is like that. They don’t understand (or don’t want to understand) why people buy hybrids; they think it’s to be cheap, which is true but not accurate. They want to save fuel, but they don’t want to save one or two miles per gallon, and they do care about emissions.

    I like the Malibu hybrid, but it’s not a real “hybrid” per se. If it sold for less of a premium over the 2LT trimline, I think it would move more.

  • avatar

    A couple of observations/questions.

    Overall truck sales (not just light truck sales) are what was down 41.5%; light truck sales were down 34.7%.

    The press release says overall sales were down 26.7%, not 27.7%.

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    Rather doubt anyone at Duh General is saying TGIF!

    What do you call this…a “double black” friday?
    Disaster squared friday?

    All of the hyperbole was used to early.

    Bunter

  • avatar
    hltguy

    Bunter1: It is definitely TGIF at GM today, meaning: “The General Is F—-d”

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    BTW-IIRC last July was a pretty bad one for GM so this is “compound bad”.

    Bunter

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    KixStart:

    PR is a thankless job. Can you imagine having to write that “we saw strong performance once again in our launch products, including the Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Malibu, Saturn Astra, and Pontiac Vibe and G8.” The CTS is low volume, Malibu’s volumes are a fraction of Camry sales, the Vibe is a Toyota and the Astra and G8 are market failures.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Let’s give ’em a loan!!

  • avatar
    Stingray

    Ok Mr Williams, I’m waiting for the cool graphs of last month.

  • avatar
    wsn

    The industry didn’t stop its slide. Even my Honda showed a 1.6% decline in sales.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    Oh my god.

    The only GM car to make the best of the best used car list is based on the Corrola platform?

    I’m going to stab my eyes out now.

    Jesus Mary and Joseph, GM sucks so hard.

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    According to your best friends at Autoblog, All of GM’s brands had sales fall off a cliff this month.

    Hummer is down 65%
    Buick is down 44.5%
    Cadillac is down 31%
    Chevrolet is down 30.5%
    GMC is down 42.5%
    Pontiac is down 22%
    Saab is down 42.4%
    Saturn is down 20.2%

    So the winner this month is Saturn, as they only have a 20% loss. Hummer is the biggest loser of the entire industry, as sales are down 65%. (Who the hell even bought the 1,877 they sold this month?)

    And also according to them, GM as a whole is actually down 32.4%.

    Sucks to be GM.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    Astonishing. They still sold over 2000 Uplanders.

    I thought that thing was dead and buried.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    Oh and Big Zero for poor Isuzu. RIP.

  • avatar
    davey49

    You can’t count the Malibu separately. You have to add the numbers for the Malibu, G6 and Aura together. 37100 for July. Together they are helping GM. Kixstart is right though, the new Malibu doesn’t sell any better than the old one. It just proves that making a really nice car doesn’t help your sales any.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    Davey: Three GM models in the same segment not outselling one Toyota (or Honda) is hardly anything to suggest as a positive. In the most simplistic terms, this is why Toyota is profitable and GM is not.

  • avatar
    FINANCEGUY

    A friend of mine that works at Saturn told me today that as of 8-1 all GMS,GM Supplier and
    college grad programs are gone our BPG programs
    are still in place

  • avatar
    wsn

    Replying to davey49 :
    Kixstart is right though, the new Malibu doesn’t sell any better than the old one. It just proves that making a really nice car doesn’t help your sales any.

    LOL. Is that the infamous “GM mentality?”

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “They still sold over 2000 Uplanders.”

    Can you say fleet sales boys and girls? Sure you can :).

  • avatar
    davey49

    Lichtronamo- true, but Toyota laid the groundwork for it’s current number 1 position 10, 20, even 30 years ago. Same can be said for GM unfortunately.
    wsn- Reliability is everything, make unreliable cars for decades and people will vacate your brand possibly forever and it will take decades to bring people back. People aren’t buying the Malibu in droves because everyone assumes it will be just like other Chevy they have owned or heard about.

  • avatar
    jimble

    Good discussion of GM’s troubles here on Matthew Yglesias’s blog:

    http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/08/its_all_management.php

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    Seth L :
    August 1st, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Astonishing. They still sold over 2000 Uplanders.

    I thought that thing was dead and buried.

    Approximately 1999 of those were fleet sales. They don’t actually sell any Uplanders to actual people who actually drive them personally. They sell them to government agencies and rent-a-car places. Basically, they are dirt cheap, and if you don’t have to drive the thing, but you do have to pay for it, it looks good on a balance sheet.

  • avatar
    mel23

    OK, I can’t stand it anymore. All this blaming of GM execs when it’s (as I’ve suspected all along but couldn’t prove until now) THE CUSTOMER’S FAULT. The reason GM isn’t selling cars with small fuel-efficient engines is that the customers haven’t asked for them.

    “We’re ready. When (customers) want it (the option of smaller engines) – we’ll do it.”

    http://www.autoobserver.com/2008/07/gm-ready-for-smaller-engines-when-customers-are.html

  • avatar
    Happy_Endings

    So if GM had the 0% for 60 months for all of July but their sales were still down almost 28%, where will this leave them when they have to stop the program around Labor Day? Will they fall off the earth, particularly as Americans are now conditioned to wait a few months for another round of sales if they are considering a domestic?

  • avatar
    kjc117

    All of GM’s hybrids are not design to be fuel saving models or hybrids at all. They just stuck them in existing models for show and go press. Toyota did same with all of their hybrids except for the Prius. The Prius is still the only car designed from the genesis to be a hybrid.

    GM’s, Ford, and Xhrsler’s troubles can be attributed to the fact they are only concerned about profits. They don’t care about their products, their employees, or customers. They are concerned about ROI and small cars do not have very good ROI but PU, SUV, CUV, and Minvans do. They will continue to fail with MBA’s as CEO instead of engineers. Of course the US government will bail them out and the real winners are the executives. The losers, US taxpayers and former GM’s, Ford, and Xhrsler’s employees.

  • avatar
    hltguy

    Forget 0% interest, how about minus five percent interest for 72 months. GM will pay you every month. Will that work? Time to get real creative with the incentives. How about $5,000.00 credit to utilize the same service Eliot Spitzer used. Or 50 yard line tickets and expenses for the Super Bowl for the next five years. C’mon GM you can do better than just thousands in rebates and zero percent. Lifetime full massages?

  • avatar
    rudiger

    psarhjinian: “The Malibu hybrid is not a bad car, but it’s not a good hybrid. It either needs to be slightly cheaper, or much more fuel efficient, before it moves at all.”Actually, when the Malibrid was introduced, the premium was only $1800 over the price of the equivalently equipped, non-hybrid model. Subtract the federal tax credit of $1300, meaning that for the difference of a paltry $500, the Malibrid wasn’t that bad of a deal, even if it only gets 2 mpg more than the non-hybrid Malibu.

    But then GM decided to pull their usual greedy crap when the price of gas skyrocketed and systematically jacked the price of the Malibrid up to where it now no longer makes economic sense to spend the extra dough (at last count, it’s now something like $3000 more) for a miserable 2 mpg increase.

    Leave it to GM to foul-up a good thing by their limitless efforts to gouge their customer base out of the maximum amount of money possible.

  • avatar
    jckirlan11

    Holy man!!!! It looks as though the wheels are coming off the GM bus, fast. Much faster than I thought. There is nothing selling for GM. I wonder what they are thinking down in the tubes as everything they have put out in recent years is falling flat on it’s face. Is this a final confluence of all the self imposed problems finally coming to end GM’s existance. Again nothing is selling. I had a very sad feeling for GM and this country when I read that report.

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    I didn’t know what an Uplander was so I visited the Chevy web site and the first picture in the photo gallery showed that I have a choice of 4 different wheel designs. How exciting.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Its amazing the crap that is still hanging around on the lots. 6 Monte Carlos, 4 Ions, 29 Terraza’s, 1 Rendezvous

    The Chev dealer near me has a whole row of Uplanders. Good luck with that guys.

  • avatar
    Voice of Sweden

    Okay, let me tell you the TRUTH about the black and white photo, you notice that it really isn’t “the good old days”, not for real at least. The photo is most likely taken with a digital SLR…

    The car and buildings are old, but if you look closely at this wedding picture, you see that the clothes and the eyewear are rather modern. And the registration plate is one of the newer models.

    If you do a search on the plate at:
    https://www21.vv.se/fordonsfraga/
    you discover that it’s a red 1958 Cadillac, imported to Sweden 2004-03-12.

    American cars from the golden age from circa 1950-1970 are rather popular in Sweden. You can see a nice selction of them in this film from the “American car gathering” Power Meet held this summer in Västerås, Sweden:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQXQNHosHkY

    FYI: There is no “Cuban situation” in Sweden. These cars are driven and renovated out of pure enthusiasm. It’s not a result from constraints on imports or economy.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    kjc117: “All of GM’s hybrids are not design to be fuel saving models or hybrids at all. They just stuck them in existing models for show and go press. Toyota did same with all of their hybrids except for the Prius. The Prius is still the only car designed from the genesis to be a hybrid.”

    Not quite… The Camry hybrid uses HSD, their advanced hybrid system, just like the Prius and, when driven reasonably, offers excellent city fuel economy. The engine also has the Atkinson cycle trick valves, so it gets better highway fuel economy (and I understand that Toyota added some underbody airflow smoothing that I wish they’d do to the LE).

  • avatar
    snabster

    saab sales:

    1621 cars
    405 SUVS
    770 Certified pre-owned sales

    The sold more new Escalades in July than the entire Saab marque.

    And so it ends, not with a bang but a whimper….

  • avatar
    M1EK

    All of GM’s hybrids are not design to be fuel saving models or hybrids at all. They just stuck them in existing models for show and go press. Toyota did same with all of their hybrids except for the Prius. The Prius is still the only car designed from the genesis to be a hybrid.

    The Camry Hybrid and Highlander Hybrid save a lot more gas compared to their ‘normal’ edition than does the Malibrid. As usual, GM apologists are FUdding you here.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Here’s some fun information. The “Hummer of South Portland” dealership in Maine is apparently no more. The Hummer sign is still up, but inside the dealership they have a red Corvette on the floor, and some sort of Mitsubishi SUV. (The company also owns a Chevy and Mitsubishi dealership).

    They still have a total of 8 H2s on the lot, but the company that owned it has converted it to a Subaru dealership within the last week or so. There must be 100 Subarus parked on the lot now. They had 5 white Uplanders a couple weeks ago, but they’re gone. Maybe some local utility bought them all or something. This was apparently the only Hummer dealer in Maine, and I think it opened back in 2005. So I guess they had a 3 year run to sell their crap vehicles to the morons that bought them.


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