GM Sales Plummet Apace, Down 41 Percent In November

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Street Insider reports that General Motors delivered 154,877 vehicles in November, down 41 percent compared with a year ago. That makes for some of the worst sales numbers in the US, leaving GM PR with nothing to get traction on despite aggressive Red Toe Tag Sale incentives which will continue through January 5. “In November we saw the continuation of the dramatic decline in volume for the industry. Every manufacturer is posting awful numbers and we are no exception,” says GM’s Mark LaNeve in what may be one of the biggest understatements we’ve heard in weeks. GM’s car sales were down 41 percent compared to last November, while trucks were down 44 percent. The only GM vehicle with positive sales growth compared to last November is the much-touted Malibu, which is up 31 percent. Ok, that’s not strictly true. The GMC C/T Series is up 64 percent, at 82 units compared to 50 last November. Needless to say these exceptions won’t save GM from the bleeding across every other model and brand. And, as our Ken Elias points out, the 862,000 models currently sitting on GM lots is “way out of whack relative to trailing sales.” Not good.

Chevy and Saturn were the best-performing brands, losing only 20.9 and 20 percent respectively. Still, with Cobalt down 53.6 percent, Impala down 43 percent, and Aura down 48 percent, these brands aren’t just losing blood, they’re leaking bone marrow. Caddy watched its cars drop by at least 38 percent (low-volume XLR) and as much as 67 percent (STS), while its trucks and utes were down by 26 to 37 percent. Buick’s best performer was the LaCrosse which shed only 19.9 percent, but the high-volume Lucerne was down 34.1 percent and the once-hot Enclave plummeted by 40.3 percent. Pontiac might have some of the worst news of the month, as the brand’s sales were down 53.4 percent since last year. The Vibe (down 14.2 percent) is the only Pontiac vehicle that isn’t at least flirting with the 50 percent drop mark. Meanwhile, Hummer sales are unsurprisingly down 63.9 percent while Saab is down 57.5 percent. Taken together, these numbers do not paint a pretty picture.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Jerry weber Jerry weber on Dec 03, 2008

    50merc I apologize for mislabeling what was still a for Detroit give away. These forty to sixty thousand dollar SUV's are not evil per se. They just wouldn't have naturally sold if the accelerated depreciation wouldn't have taken thousands off of the sales price in the year sold. That other non automotive items were included in the tax breaks makes no difference to my argument. GM and Ford were able to book up to $20K profit per unit on vehicles (6000 lb+ SUV.s) that would not have otherwise been sold. Thus, they got an artificial injection of profits that allowed them to shirk their responsibility of making cars for the future for another couple of years. If my remarks are wrong, then why doesn't anyone want to buy a $60K Cadillac SUV today? and Finally, why are their warmed over obsolete cars complete in many cases with push rod engines and 4 speed trannys still out there as 2009 models?

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Dec 04, 2008

    Those seem to be some amazing blinders Detroit wears. Still comfortable after four decades. Friends ask me what I think of bailout and I just don't know what to say. On one hand we want to keep people working and earning a paycheck but insights like those offered here on TTAC show that these companies are so fundamentally damaged - that is the leadership in that industry is so damaged that I don't really think helping them with loans is going to encourage the changes they need to make to stay in business another 50 years. So we damage our gov't to loan these folks a bunch of money and then they may still go broke and never pay back the loan. As crazy as some of the e-mails I have seen demanding the gov't give the money to the little people of America - giving it to Detroit seems about as crazy.

  • Teddyc73 As I asked earlier under another article, when did "segment" or "class" become "space"? Does using that term make one feel more sophisticated? If GM's products in other segments...I mean "space" is more profitable then sedans then why shouldn't they discontinue it.
  • Robert Absolutely!!! I hate SUV's , I like the better gas milage and better ride and better handling!! Can't take a SUV 55mph into a highway exit ramp! I can in my Malibu and there's more than enough room for 5 and trunk is plenty big enough for me!
  • Teddyc73 Since when did automakers or car companies become "OEM". Probably about the same time "segment" or "class" became "space". I wish there were more sedans. I would like an American sedan. However, as others have stated, if they don't sell in large enough quantities to be profitable the automakers...I mean, "OEMs" aren't going to build them. It's simple business.
  • Varezhka I have still yet to see a Malibu on the road that didn't have a rental sticker. So yeah, GM probably lost money on every one they sold but kept it to boost their CAFE numbers.I'm personally happy that I no longer have to dread being "upgraded" to a Maxima or a Malibu anymore. And thankfully Altima is also on its way out.
  • Tassos Under incompetent, affirmative action hire Mary Barra, GM has been shooting itself in the foot on a daily basis.Whether the Malibu cancellation has been one of these shootings is NOT obvious at all.GM should be run as a PROFITABLE BUSINESS and NOT as an outfit that satisfies everybody and his mother in law's pet preferences.IF the Malibu was UNPROFITABLE, it SHOULD be canceled.More generally, if its SEGMENT is Unprofitable, and HALF the makers cancel their midsize sedans, not only will it lead to the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST ones, but the survivors will obviously be more profitable if the LOSERS were kept being produced and the SMALL PIE of midsize sedans would yield slim pickings for every participant.SO NO, I APPROVE of the demise of the unprofitable Malibu, and hope Nissan does the same to the Altima, Hyundai with the SOnata, Mazda with the Mazda 6, and as many others as it takes to make the REMAINING players, like the Excellent, sporty Accord and the Bulletproof Reliable, cheap to maintain CAMRY, more profitable and affordable.