GM Sales Slide 45%

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
gm sales slide 45

GM’s March sales ( PDF chart) slid 45 percent compared to last March. As usual, the official press release is crawling with standard-issue PR equivocation. 156,380 deliveries in March? Why in a total contextual vaccuum, that sounds downright mediocre! Compared with February’s pity party, “7 of 8 GM brands saw total sales increases with total volume up 23 percent.” And Mark “ Rough Chuckles” LaNeve hears a slow, government-backed turnaround coming. “We had a strong close at the end of the month as customers responded to strong incentives, President Obama’s positive statements about GM, and the government backing domestic warranties,” soliloquizes GM’s S&M masochist-in-chief.

But slicing and dicing only distracts from the truth for so long. And when the truth is this ugly, it rarely stays in the shadows anyway. By brand, Pontiac was the big winner last month, with sales falling “only” 30 percent. Buick was next-best with a 40 percent drop, and things just keep getting worse all the way to Hummer which fell 76 percent, selling fewer than 900 units. Light trucks (-45 percent) were worse off than cars (-40 percent), but only the profit-free G8 (2,938 units sold) stands out as a genuine sales success.

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  • Geotpf Geotpf on Apr 01, 2009
    golf4me : April 1st, 2009 at 4:49 pm And, can you show me the numbers that their sales are only to fleets and employees? I don’t doubt you, but I’d like to see where you came up with that fact. A little Googling got me these figures from first half of 2006: Compact Sedan -- Retail -- Total Civic -- 151,000 -- 152,000 Corolla -- 113,000 -- 129,000 Cobalt -- 63,000 -- 96,000 Midsize Sedan -- Retail -- Total Accord -- 153,000 -- 155,000 Camry -- 146,000 --168,000 Impala -- 54,000 -- 120,000 Compact Trucks -- Retail -- Total Tacoma -- 82,000 -- 84,000 Frontier -- 36,000 -- 37,000 Ranger -- 34,000 -- 42,000 Full Size Trucks -- Retail -- Total F150 -- 306,000 -- 374,000 Silverado -- 227,000 -- 274,000 Ram -- 158,000 -- 171,000 Minivan -- Retail -- Total Odyssey -- 79,000 -- 79,000 Sienna -- 67,000 -- 77,000 Caravan -- 55,000 -- 103,000 Compact SUV -- Retail -- Total CR-V -- 67,000 -- 67,000 Escape -- 53,000 -- 72,000 RAV4 -- 42,000 -- 45,000 Midsize SUV -- Retail -- Total Pilot -- 74,000 -- 75,000 Grand Cherokee -- 65,000 -- 89,000 Explorer -- 61,000 -- 83,000 Fullsize SUV -- Retail -- Total Tahoe -- 67,000 -- 72,000 Expedition -- 32,000 -- 41,000 Suburban -- 27,000 -- 32,000 Things haven't changed that dramatically, although I believe fleet sales have dropped (overall) further than retail. Basically, for most mainstream models of cars (that is, not the Corvette, etc.), Toyota is 90% retail, Honda is like 98% retail, and the domestics are less than 70%, with some models having almost no retail sales. This jives with numbers I've seen in the past. Now, with pickups, things are better for the domestics. My correcting the "cars" and "light vehicles" is that a fair number of people buy domestic pickups and SUVs at retail (although there are quite a few fleet sales in there as well), but almost nobody buys a domestic car at retail. Then, you got to factor in employee discounts for the retail sales (numbers that are fairly high but unknown publicly), and you get very small numbers indeed. Most of the retail sales are further diminished in profitability due to the consistantly high incentives they have to put on every vehicle to move the metal. Here's a TTAC link on the subject from about the same time period: Basically, Detroit makes large pickups, large SUVs, Corvettes, Cadillacs, and fleet vehicles. That's about it.

  • Roar Roar on Apr 01, 2009

    The domestics cannot make a compact or mid sedan and make a profit doing it, even the imports figured out that the money is in SUV's and trucks. so intoday enviorment the locals are toast and the advantage goes to the imports. Why is it that the companies that are around the longest end up in a comprimising position?

  • PeteMoran PeteMoran on Apr 01, 2009

    What's the phrase? Terminal decline? I want to know WHO was buying GM stock at $3.50+????????????????????????????????????????? as recently as last week. WTF?

  • Campisi Campisi on Apr 02, 2009
    ... Toyota is 90% retail, Honda is like 98% retail, and the domestics are less than 70%... ... almost nobody buys a domestic car at retail. At the risk of sounding argumentative, seven out of ten is far from "almost nobody."