By on December 1, 2009


GM’s sales fell by only two percent in November, showing that, unlike Chrysler, its sales are fairly well tied to the overall health of the market. All four of GM’s “core brands” posted month-on-month increases, with Buick up 14.8 percent, Cadillac up 10.3 percent, Chevrolet up 4.5 percent and GMC up 5.4 percent. Non-core brands including Hummer, Pontiac, Saab and Saturn combined for a 47.9 percent decline, to 11,755 units. Cars fell by 1.3 percent, while Trucks were down by 2.8 percent, leaving GM with total deliveries of 151,427 units.

Buick was a mixed bag in November, with LaCrosse improving 63 percent on last November’s numbers for its moribund predecessor, to 3,400 units, while Lucerne fell 30 percent to 2,171 units. Enclave saw a decent 33 percent increase over last November, with 3,056 units sold. Despite growing the most in month-on-month sales, Buick is still GM’s weakest “core brand” by volume with only 8,627 sales, and it barely beat Pontiac’s 7,426 unit performance.

Cadillac saw a troubling 6.8 percent decline in its best-selling model, the CTS, despite the alleged success of last month’s V-Series Challenge PR stunt. DTS improved by 9.4 percent, with 1,408 units, while STS declined over 55 percent to a mere 279 units. XLR (yup, they’re still selling ’em) was down only five units, with 55 sold, while the Escalade triplets combined for 2,270 units. The new SRX blew out all comparisons to last November’s performance by its aged predecessor, posting a 207 percent increase to a respectable 3,004 units.

Chevrolet’s cars posted a combined 16.9 percent increase, but the news wasn’t all good. Aveo posted a 33 percent drop to 2,212 units, Cobalt fell by 19 percent to 5,112 and Impala slid 3.7 percent to 12,375. Malibu and Camaro combined to bring up the brand’s car average though, with the ‘bu rising 17.5 percent to 11,113 and the Camaro posting a solid 6,867 units.

Chevy’s trucks, utes and CUVs didn’t fare quite as well, posting a 2 percent combined drop. Colorado kept dropping off the radar, falling 47.4 percent to 1,316 units, as did Trailblazer (-94 percent to 165 units). Bright points were the HHR (+38 percent, 4,720 units), Equinox (+273 percent, 9,587 units), Traverse (+140 percent, 7,054 units), Tahoe (+57 percent, 6,528) and Suburban (+20 percent, 4,678 units). Fullsize trucks were hard hit though, with Avalanche (-31 percent, 1,373 units) and Silverado C/K (-25 percent,  22,101 units) posting significant losses.

GMC’s sales mirrored Chevy’s, where declines in aging models were barely edged out by more successful newer models for a 5.4 percent increase. GMC’s big winner was the Acadia, which posted a 47 percent increase to 3,877 units. The new Terrain came a close second, with 3,683 units sold, and the Yukon had a surprisingly solid month, nearly flat at 2,253 units. Sierra sales fell below 10,000 units, to 8,371, while Yukon XL held relatively steady with only a 10.7 percent loss to 1,543 units.

Meanwhile, on the non-core brand front, Hummer posted another monstrous decline, dropping 84 percent to 221 units. With sales that bad, don’t be surprised if the deal to sell the ute brand to China’s Sichuan Tengzhong falls through any day now. Saab sold fewer than 300 cars, with every model falling by at least 50 percent. Pontiac sold 5,852 G6s (coming soon to a rental lot near you), which made up nearly all of its 7,300-unit car volume. Saturn sold 1,794 cars and 1,943 crossovers, including 1,362 VUEs.

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29 Comments on “GM Sales Fall 2 Percent In November...”

  • avatar

    Not a comment on GM so much as the banner ad “GM – Damaged When Delivered” that has been appearing all afternoon on TTAC. Clicking through reveals it is the Teamsters complaining about GM using non-union car haulers.
    God bless anyone who wants to support our favorite website, but other than the UAW nobody has done more to destroy American competitiveness than the Teamsters (while managing to make every other union look downright honorable).
    I know a little something about shipping cars, and I can tell you that the non-union haulers we used had a far better reliability and damage record than those with Teamster-represented drivers. The principal damage to cars on non-union haulers came from Teamsters vandalizing them on their way out of the yard.
    I’m happy if TTAC wants to take some of their money, but the ad is FOS and so is the union.

    • 0 avatar

      “but other than the UAW nobody has done more to destroy American competitiveness than the Teamsters”… don’t give GM and Daimler-Chrysler management enough credit.

  • avatar

    5,000 Cobalts? That’s sad when Corolla sells over 22,000 per month. The Cruze can’t get here fast enough!

    • 0 avatar

      The Cruze will probably be an improvement; the interior of the up-optioned model is unbelievably nice but…

      How much is that up-optioned Cruze going to be?  What’s the interior of the base vehicle?  Putting together a couple of reports on GM-Volt (of all places), it looks as though the curb weight of the Cruze will be 3100 lbs, with power similar to the Corolla – but the Corolla weighs 350 lbs less.  Performance is likely to be less than thrilling.  And I just can’t believe GM is going to wring 40 mpg out of it.

      An improvement, most likely.  But is it going to help turn GM around?  Very doubtful.

    • 0 avatar

      An improvement, most likely.  But is it going to help turn GM around?  Very doubtful.

      I’d say any product improvement will help them turn around. I think it’s safe to say the Cruze will definitely be an improvement over the Cobalt.

      And you’re probably dead on about the Cruze’s performance (or theoretical lack thereof), but performance isn’t the prime selling factor in this segment. If it were, the Mazda 3 and VW Rabbit would the best sellers. Instead, the hottest cars are the Civic, Corolla and Elantra, and if you can find me three duller cars to drive, I’ll buy you dinner (OK, maybe I’ll eat crow instead).

      I think this segment is more about styling, price, features and reliability than driving fun. And maybe that’s a shame, but that’s the deal.

    • 0 avatar

      5000 is at least enough these days to keep the product going.
      The Cruze probably won’t sell any better, there’s close to a 3 year gap in perception from when a new (better quality) style car is introduced and when the public notices and buys it. The Malibu came out in 2008 and still isn’t selling any better than the old rent-a-bomb unit.
      I meet people who are wondering where to buy a new Saturn ION.
      Corolla, Civic, Camry and Accord sales will not go down unless there is a long term history of failures and unreliable cars with those names. 10 years or more

  • avatar

    Looking across October’s sales reports, it appears that *generally* mid-size cars made the most gains, with both small and large vehicles taking a hit.  Example: both Honda Fit and Hummer are down a lot.
    In this climate, the reasonably-priced Cruze/Cobalt/Cavalier would not do well, and the crazy-priced Volt would be DOA.  GM needs to keep pushing Malibus out the door.

  • avatar

     As I read the comments I see good and valid points in most but, the general public can blame the U.A.W. for destroying G.M. but there are ALWAYS at least two ways of approaching a condition!!! First the U.A.W. doesn’t design vehicles G.M. or any other car company produces!!! The U.A.W. doesn’t pick and/or choose what is produced and when it’s produced!!! The U.A.W. wants vehicles produced in the U.S.A.(thats where)or in Canada(also where) and wants a fair wage and benefit package for their represented members. If G.M. was producing cars and trucks people wanted and marketed them properly they wouldn’t be pewking market share!!!!!!! U.A.W. or not!!!!! Ford is an example of a  U.A.W. represented company producing vehicles Americans want and like!!!(do you get it?) As far as the foreign trans-plants and their roughly two($2.00) an hour wage difference keep this in mind. The ONLY  reason they are making that much is because of the U.A.W.!!! and when G.M. and any other company eliminates the union it WILL be a race to the bottom. Companies have another ACE up their sleeves –ILLEGAL ALIENS  yes that’s right when these 50 million people are given amnesty wages will further decline! Beautiful isn’t it?  Bottom line G.M. doesn’t even produce a SMALL HYBRID!!!! How about the AVEO, or Colbalt hybrid? No it’s not the U.A.W. destroying G.M.  It’s MANAGEMENT or lack there-of!!!!!

    • 0 avatar

      Well, we know who the resident UAW member is.  While the UAW doesn’t design vehicles, the cost structure and requirements that the UAW has hurt GM.  Ford, like GM, is negotiating with the UAW to get a better deal because they are now at a disadvantage.  While the UAW is not the only reason why GM had problems, it was certainly a very big problem.

    • 0 avatar

      You are correct in part.  The UAW is not solely responsible for GM’s decline, as evidenced by Ford’s improvements lately.  But the UAW serves as an anchor for progress across the Big 3.
      Anything that increases the cost of employing someone means the manufacturer will look for ways to automate, or cut jobs.  Witness the decline in UAW membership over the last 30 years.  It has simply been cannibalistic – the great wages you mention have come at the cost of your colleague’s jobs.  Too bad for them.
      Claiming that eliminating the union results in a race to the bottom is a vapid argument at this point.  Just look at many of the competitors to the Big 3, and you’ll see they do very well without unions.  This is also true in other industries.
      Job mobility, information flow, and workplace protection regulation have all improved the plight of workers in modern nations.  Blackmailing union tactics are no longer needed, and indeed are rejected by many workers because they don’t want to see their wages sapped by union dues that feed causes they don’t support.
      As for hybrids, GM should simply bow out.  The Prius nameplate alone sells over 10x as many hybrids as all of GM combined.

    • 0 avatar

      No specific complaints about the UAW … but you really could cut back on the exclamation marks.

    • 0 avatar

      Was it the UAW that decided that GM and Ford should squander the billions they made selling SUVs and trucks during the ’90s by trying to buy luxury brands, versus improving their existing product lines? Certainly not. And the UAW certainly didn’t convince Daimler to go all Attila the Hun on Chrysler, and leave nothing but a rotting corpse behind.

      I think you can ascribe a certain amount of the blame to the UAW, but if Detroit hadn’t made these boneheaded product and financial decisions, I think you’d have seen a far more normal correction over the last couple of years, not a total collapse of two companies.

    • 0 avatar

      Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!
      GM can’t build that product because it spent all its money giving free viagra and legal advice to UAW workers through lifetime benefits. Healthcare alone was costing $7 billion a year, now with VEBA was negotiated you think union management is going to safeguard that trust (HA!). [note; VEBA can’t be repaid, shares are going to sell at like $2. Government isn’t going to get repaid, either. Also, the government bail-out of GM is to keep workers temporarily employed and hopefully make it to the next bubble.

      So who pays for the $7 billion or ~$1200 a car GM sold to fund the UAW healthcare costs and keep workers from the job bank and sell cars at a loss (1200 not counting their princess salaries and benefits)? The customers [before uncle sam/public debt].

      Ultimately products were not refreshed as often, research and development were cut, so essentially a pickup rolls off the assembly line neutered of what the competition is selling for at the same price point and the product is crap.
      I can still get a Tundra with the same options $3500 cheaper than a Ram because Dodge is paying the UAW and not turning a profit even.

      Fair wage? at $75 and hour(including benefits within calc), or 150K  a year to sit on an assembly line that is unreasonable for a manufacturing job, that is above middle class. Members like paying all those union dues? Union leadership wants the dues and with VEBA do you think they’ll not have management problems within 3 years and the whole thing is a shell and collapses after being paid out.

      This is about union management negotiating to save GM, trying to kill the goose with the golden eggs(i.e. your salary+benefits) isn’t going to help really save GM from collapsing in 3 years or post-Obama if they still haven’t turned around an aging portfolio.
      About Ford, they also have borrowed  and leveraged everything to stay afloat and took a ~6.7 Billion loan from the DOE. They may have nice products coming out, but they also have a huge debt and will have the oldest lineup of cars in showrooms 3 years from now as they shot the load this year.You think they will survive this? They need to raise another $1 billion in stock offering to pay the interests on their loans.

  • avatar

    Just wanted to say that whoever decided that Hummer should be added to GM’s portfolio of brands should never, ever work again.  Anywhere.  Ever.

    • 0 avatar

      I disagree.  Hummer is a nice niche brand that has successfully been killed by the media, and by product bloat.  Its elimination further devolves GM into utter blandness.
      I think it could be successful if managed properly.

    • 0 avatar

      Hummer is a nice niche brand that has successfully been killed by the media, and by product bloat. 

      Huh? These things barely fit on public roads when they were first introduced, and got smaller. Reverse bloat, maybe?

    • 0 avatar

      gslippy is referring to bloat of the brand, like brand dilution, not bloat of the actual vehicle.

  • avatar

    Other interesting things to note.  LaCrosse sales were up 63%.  But, retail sales were up 238%.  I guess that means you will find far fewer LaCrosse’s on rental lots.  GM as a whole was up 10% on the retail side.  The Trailblazer is discontinued so sales are going to be going down.

  • avatar

    One thing to take note of: the large crossovers (Acadia/Enclave/Traverse) are selling well now. They deserve to.

  • avatar

    HHR outsold PT Cruiser by 15:1?  Wow.  Time to pull the plug on the PT, Sergio.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    In a lot of ways, the sales numbers don’t mean much. There are a couple of exceptions that we know. One is that GM has said they can’t make money in cars but they can make money in trucks. Well, it looks like truck sales fell. Two, since we know they can’t make money in selling cars, because this is what they’ve been telling us for years and even with Fritz Henderson gone, it’s still the same people running GM, well, it’s good that car sales are down.
    Why? Because it’s like the old Vaudeville bit, “We lose money on every one, but we make it up in volume.” Like the Aveo.

  • avatar

    I must say, it does amuse me that every time I’ve stopped by the site today the Aveo ad has popped up.   Ladies and gentlemen, I give you irony.

  • avatar

    GM builds boring, poor quality cars. The Malibu has decent quality but it’s lame compared to a similarly priced Altima.

    Unions are through in the US. They have nothing but crap to offer consumers.

  • avatar

    I Still Find it amusing that Pontiac Still Outsold Buick This YEAR!  How much of this decrease is because they have no Pontiacs left at many of these lots?
    The dealer I go to only has 2 left.                                                                              20



    %Chg Volume

    %Chg per S/D



    %Chg Volume

    Buick Total








    Cadillac Total








    Chevrolet Total








    GMC Total








    Core Brand Total








    HUMMER Total








    Pontiac Total








    GM needs to bring Pontiac back.

  • avatar

    Open the door to illegals and the elites better also open the door for millions of high-tech and high-educated folks.
    I bet there are many outstanding CEOs and others who will work for 1/10th or less of every big-wig in the USA.
    The same for doctors, CPAs, etc.
    Shove the common folk down to far so they have nothing to lose and civil turmoil could possibly destroy the Union and all those who feel they are safe in their upper-crust lives.
    The desperate man with nothing to lose with no future hopes can become savage

    • 0 avatar

      These same “Elites” are starting to see their little worlds are not invincible either. They’re starting to squirm and when people from other countries undercut their job wage and benefit packages they’ll be crying louder than any union labor employee! This is all in process but still many enjoy what they think they deserve, they worked hard for, what they’ve earned! Earned and deserved have “NOTHING” to do with it when it comes down to the bottom line! I’m not sure what the answers are but if you destroy high paying jobs for the masses with benefits and replace these lost jobs with part-time Walmart , flood the country with illegals, higher education costs are out of reach for most Americans, you have what we have now!!! Do you like it? It’s going to get “MUCH WORSE” and the “Squirming  Elites” might start to understand!, might! 

  • avatar

    From the article: “Malibu and Camaro combined to bring up the brand’s car average though, with the ‘bu rising 17.5 percent to 11,113 and the Camaro posting a solid 6,867 units.”

    We can’t compare the Camaro to last year, of course, but I notice that it has fallen off about 15% from last month.  I wonder how long it will be before somebody at GM remembers why it was killed off in the early part of the decade?

  • avatar

    Yesterday’s BBC World Business Report included an interview with an auto analyst, whose name escapes me, and one of the things she discussed was the availaiblity of internal CEO-grade talent at GM.  She mentioned Lutz.  If they are considering Maximum Bob, I hope they scrutinize Camaro sales v-e-r-y carefully before making a final decision.

  • avatar

    GM has pissed off too many buyers multiple times with bad products, bad quality, and screwing their customers before and after the warranty period ends. Remember that the next time you are watching one of their cutesy “Howie” commercials.

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