GM Sales Fall 31 Percent In December

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
gm sales fall 31 percent in december

And the scramble for ways to say “it’s not that bad” is on. GM’s Press Release suggests pointing out that deliveries are up compared to October and November. Just don’t bring it up around your friendly local GM dealer/overstock storage depot. They’re still trying to forget October and November. And a four percent drop in inventory compared to last December doesn’t really make their collective 872k unsold units look any better. GM unit Meanwhile, GM’s total annual vehicle sales for 2008 fell below three million, at 2,980,688. That’s a 23 percent drop since 2007.

Digging deeper, the news reflects most of the major trends in the industry. Though total car sales dropped only 24.9 percent, light trucks continue to crater at a higher rate of 34.8 percent. On the Brand front, Saab and Hummer are as dead as they can be, with total sales down 57.1 and 59.3 percent respectively. Pontiac, Buick and GMC are trending downward slightly less sharply, registering still-troubling declines of 45.6, 38.1 and 34.5 percent respectively. Chevrolet was by far the best performer, down only 25.8 percent (still, nearly 50k fewer vehicles than December 2007). Chevy cars in particular are the bright point, dropping “only” 4 percent. On the other hand, the next biggest volume brand for cars is Pontiac, which recorded 14,381 car sales. That’s a 48.2 percent drop in car sales compared to last December.

By model, the Malibu is up 42.2 percent compared to last December’s non-sales of the old model. No surprises there. Curiously, the Impala is up 18.8 percent actually outselling the Malibu 21,148 to 17,355. Once again, the love that dare not speak its name (fleet sales) rears its head.

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  • Akear Akear on Jan 05, 2009

    It is funny as the Delta and Epsilon platfrom continue to flop the Impala is still Detroit's sales king. I read GM even sells more Malibus to the fleets than the Impala!!

  • Npbheights Npbheights on Jan 05, 2009

    Since we talked about Cadillac all day yesterday, what about them? How much lower were Cadillac's sales?

  • on Jan 05, 2009

    Meanwhile…there has been a long line of rail car carriers on the siding just north of our plant in southwest MI for at least three weeks. I don’t know who’s vehicles are in them but I really am curious as to whether these cars are on the books as “sold”. Once a dealer accepts delivery they are sold to the respective dealership. They are not counted as retail sales until that dealership sells or delivers to a retail customer. So the short answer is most likely no they are not sold. Most likely waiting to be shipped.

  • Richard Chen Richard Chen on Jan 06, 2009

    Via WSJ: While Ford continued to reduce its sales of low-margin sales to rental-car companies and other fleet customers, GM used fleet sales to prop up its December total as retail sales to individual customers at dealerships fell about 41%.