By on May 3, 2010

For yet another month, GM’s sales [full April sales report in XLS format here, press release here] managed to be both promising and disappointing, depending on how you cut them. GM’s “core brands” were up 20 percent cumulatively, with Cadillac and Buick leading the way with 35.7 percent and 36.4 percent increases respectively (Chevy up 17.4 percent, GMC up 18.4 percent). And though GM is especially eager to boost sales numbers at its two premium brands, thanks to their low baseline sales, the solid percentage gains resulted in surprisingly small volume improvements. The General’s overall volume was up only 6.5 percent compared to April 2009, a month when the just-canceled Pontiac outsold both Buick and Caddy.

Buick’s big boost came from the LaCrosse, which sold 5,236 units for an increase of 272 percent over last April. Enclave approached the 5k mark, with 4,599 units moved last month, for a more modest gain of 23 percent. Lucerne lost 38 percent of its April 2009 volume, at 2,346 units.

The big news is Cadillac-land is the SRX, which vaulted over last April’s modest sales of the outgoing model, with a 587 percent improvement to 3,904 units. Actually, that’s the big positive news. The really big news is that Cadillac’s bread-and-butter CTS is utterly stagnant with consumers right now, actually sliding 15 percent to 3,278 units. This despite GM recently making the CTS the poster child for “the return of affordable auto leases”. STS and XLR sales fell by 54 and 73 percent respectively, while DTS and the Escalades all added between 20 percent and 30 percent, to keep Cadillac’s overall volume up. Still, with new CTS Sportwagons available, and a Coupe coming soon, Cadillac needs to see its most important sedan pick up the pace if it wants to stay on Ed Whitacre’s good side.

GMC’s Acadia narrowly improved on last April’s sales, up 2.4 percent to 4,877 units. That performance just barely pipped GMC’s Terrain, which sold 4,404 units. Sierra was GMC’s top-selling nameplate again though, up 13 percent to 9,360. Canyon moved only 527 units, Yukon was down 21 percent to 1,942 and Yukon XL added 46 percent to 1,693.

Chevrolet’s Malibu improved 13 percent, making it the most popular car in the Chevy lineup at 16,536 units. Impala fell 8 percent, to 16,144. Cobalt had a strong April, with volume up 29 percent to 13,701. Equinox sold 11,987 units and Traverse added ten percent for a total of 9,020 units. Camaro continued its strong sales streak, moving 9,150 units. Silverado was Chevy’s top-selling nameplate, at 29,618 units, and even the Colorado avoided a Canyon-like dropoff, logging just over 2,000 sales. Tahoe volume fell 23 percent to 6,309, while Suburban added 15 percent to 5,087 units. HHR fell 19 percent  to 5,383 units.

According to GM, fleet sales for its four “core” brands totaled 58,000 units, a two percent drop compared to April 2009.

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12 Comments on “GM April Sales Up 6.5 Percent, Core Brands Up 20 Percent...”

  • avatar

    Stand by for the Whitless spin machine to make the most out of the least. A 6 percent increase over April 2009, when bankruptcy was looming, is absolutely pitiful.

    Ford: Up 25%.

    Hyundai: Up 30%.

    Any questions? Other than, “why the $%@# did we have to “save” this awful company?”

    • 0 avatar

      I think the proper comparison is with the Core brands only, which gained 20%. That’s pretty good, and I’m no GM fan.

    • 0 avatar

      As long as Gov’t Motors continues to count them, I will as well. (I notice even the sheepdog media is touting the 6% figure, not the 20%.)

      Besides, even a 20% improvement over gawdawful isn’t much to sing about. Even Fiasler managed better than that (from a percentage standpoint) with fewer and far less desirable products.

  • avatar

    Given global competition, GM may never get a whole lot bigger than they are toady. They need to focus on being profitable at the current size – which will require more downsizing in the future. The idea of them having a market cap like they had 10 years ago is a pipe-dream, and pursuing that will result in ultimate failure.

  • avatar

    It would seem Malibu lost badly to its midsize competitors for another month, but I guess that isn’t entirely fair, since Impala does sap some sales. Bunch Impala and Malibu and you get >32000 sales, compared to >25000 Fusions/Tauruess and >21000 Sonatas/Optimas. One single Chevy sedan model probably wouldn’t enjoy that same margin over its rivals.

    Similarly, the compact trio of Cobalt/HHR/Aveo narrowly beats Elantra/Elantra Touring/Forte/Spectra sales (21861 to 21474) and destroys the Focus (currently Ford’s only small offering) which can claim >14000 sales.

    Single model performances leave much to be desired, and even in these arbitrary batches its unlikely Chevy will challenge Toyota or Honda in any category, but with its outdated bread and butter, Chevy seems to be barely holding the line against Ford and Hyundai.

    A new Aveo, Cruze, and Malibu may help Chevy keep these slight leads and even increase them, but those products just aren’t on sale yet.

  • avatar

    They aren’t on sale yet but they are coming and coming fast. The Cruze will be here soon along with an entirely new Aveo and refreshed Malibu. A new Impala will be revealed soon as well.

    Contrarian is right though, GM has to be profitable at it’s current size and has to assume they will remain this way (or drop more in share). That will require the company to be very lean and do something about it’s labor and legacy costs. Normal bankruptcy would have nuked the union but the White House couldn’t let that happen.

    It’s also not surprising that Pontiac’s numbers are so high, the dealers are practically giving the cars away. I just picked up a new Vibe GT leftover for over 10,000 off MSRP.

  • avatar

    Buick’s total sales can’t match Chrysler’s Town & Country sales. Or another perspective, Buick roughly matches Chrysler’s non T&C sales. This is not encouraging if Buick (full of fresh product except Lucerne) cannot outsell Sebrings and 5 year old 300s. While the new Lacrosse is a nice car, it is not selling anywhere near where it needs to be.

  • avatar

    Over 9000 Camaros! According to the GM bashers,sales were going to die off six months after launch. Or maybe it was “GM will die by Xmas 2010”

    Predictions are funny things eh?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m less interested in the Camaro than the Volt, which has already been declared by GM to be a money-loser, yet serves as the basis for several follow-on products.

      I personally think GM will be facing bankruptcy again around 2013 or 2014, let alone ‘pay back’ the $50+ billion. They just can’t profitably sell cars with a high cost structure, forced dealer retention, and huge incentives.

      Without government intervention, GM would have been more free to restructure in a way that offered hope for success, rather than just hope.

    • 0 avatar

      @ mikey,

      I honestly believe there will be a lot of disappointed, crow eating GM bashers here in a few years. GM isn’t out of the woods but they are heading in the right direction IMHO.

  • avatar

    perfume on a pig.

  • avatar

    Yeah, nice. Weird, March they had like 40+% for their core brands. I don’t like domestic brands but I’m glad they bail GM out. If WW3 happens we’ll be glad that we got em. It’ll be similar to the situation back when we loan Chrysler money, they paid us back.

    Only car I would consider from GM is a drop top Camaro ^_^. Maaaybe a Corvette but I would rather buy GT-R or Jaguar XK.

    They’re doing very very well over in China. Chinese apparently thinks Buick is a luxury brand >_>. Their new Lacross is pretty nice, FWD drive though =(.

    Their current plans seem to be fuel efficiency with their V6 and eco tech inline 4 turbos which is a pretty good plan. They’re also developing the next chassis to replace the Zeta chassis. I dunno about their future products though, haven’t seen any yet. I think Volt is going to fail if the price is around 30k or more. They need a good family sedan and some kind of an image to sell. Nissan sells their products as performance oriented rather than Toyota’s appliance image.

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