Chart Of The Day: GM's Monthly Retail Market Share, 2008-2011

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
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Retail market share is one of those metrics that tends to cut through the vagueness of pure sales-volume numbers, reflecting an automaker’s performance compared to the competition, without the distraction of fleet sales. It’s not a perfect measure of a business’s overall strength, as fleet sales can help with economies of scale and capacity utilization, but it’s one of the most accurate ways to measure the appeal of a firm’s products with real consumers. And, based on this chart of GM’s monthly retail market share (as calculated by TrueCar VP for Industry Analysis and all-round data ninja Jesse Toprak), GM’s much-vaunted Lutz-era products aren’t moving the needle with those real consumers. Emerging from bankruptcy didn’t seem to provide much of boost either. And unless drastic happens soon, GM’s battle for consumer acceptance will continue its slow but steady decline. Not good!

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Apr 13, 2011

    It is unfair to blame Ed for posting a chart that reflects things as they are in the real world. But it should also be noted that many people, including myself, have for a long time voiced our opinion that bailing out GM was a bad thing that had no chance of ever leading to a viable and profitable, self-sustaining GM. There simply are not enough people buying GM products, not in North America and not in the rest of the world. Best thing we can do now, before we lose all of the bail out money we poured into GM and the UAW, is to chop up this automaker and sell its sub-divisions to the highest bidder. At least we would get back a little of the money we spent to keep the UAW employed in this money-losing venture.

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    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Apr 14, 2011

      doctor olds, I hope you are right. But your posts are always so optimistic that they remind of posts I read prior to carmageddon, where the authors outlined all the factors that would drive both GM and Chrysler to have to declare bankruptcy (among them their inability to pay their operating expenses). It turned out, those guys were prophetic in their visions and predictions. First and foremost I want to see GM and Chrysler pay back every cent that the tax payers gave them. I doubt that will happen. Oh, we'll see numbers being bandied about but they will be meaningless because in the end the tax payers will still lose money. As to GM being profitable, I think you fail to consider that they are not making their mandatory contributions to the UAW nor are they paying their expenses or repaying any of the principal indebtedness. Most of that was written off when GM declared bankruptcy. However, let's hope that time will prove you right and me wrong. If that happens it will mean that the tax payers will get back a little of the money they poured into Detroit and the UAW. A little is better than nothing. But it still fails to address market share. When there were only three auto manufacturers in the US and GM had a 30% or 40% market share, that was one thing. Now that there are multitudes of auto manufacturers all vying to sell their wares in the US, if GM can make money with only a 15.6% market share...... (I just don't see GM being around in 2014/2015. I think it will be GM-China, GM-India, GM-Brazil, and GM-Russia). I hope I'm wrong.

  • Rod Panhard Rod Panhard on Apr 14, 2011

    I don't see how things are different at GM. Their profits are propped up with truck and SUV sales. We're at $4 per gallon gas, again, which means big truck and SUV sales will drop. Meanwhile their competitors increase their production levels in the U.S. If nothing else, the "family & friends" effect will increase competitors' volume as well. If it wasn't for "family & friends" (which includes retirees) Chrysler would have succumbed. The bailout wasn't as much of a bailout as it was a stay-of-execution.

    • Zackman Zackman on Apr 14, 2011
      "The bailout wasn’t as much of a bailout as it was a stay-of-execution." Rod, I sure hope you're wrong...
  • Bunter1 Bunter1 on Apr 14, 2011

    I here pundits say "GMs products are great", but comparisons show mediocrity. I here GM has improved quality, but the data at CR, JDP and TD says "below average" (yes individual vehicles do better). I see spikes in market share going with industry leading incentives and lease deals. New GM = Old GM Bunter

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    • Bunter1 Bunter1 on Apr 14, 2011

      @doctor olds Actually Doc I have, pre-bancruptcy. GMs month to month performance has been very erratic when compared with others, and it has corresponded very well with incentives and sales events. What I see today looks very similar. It easy to be profitable when your debts are wiped out, you get a big pile of others money and get to carry over tax breaks that are normally not carried through BK. We will see how that goes long term with sinking market share and $3k on the hood of every car (average) to move what they do. They may make it, hope they do. But I remain skeptical that there has been a fundamental change in the way they do buisness-and the old way failed. Until I see evidense of change I will stand by my assesment. Respectfully yours, Bunter

  • Doctor olds Doctor olds on Apr 14, 2011

    @bunter & highdesertcat- I sure don't have a crystal ball either! I am not shy about wanting them to succeed and have certainly been disappointed in the past. Let's see how April goes!

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    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Apr 15, 2011

      The key to survivability is whether or not they can pay their operations costs, on their own. If they can, then maybe they can pay the tax payers back. That's really all I care about. The American auto industry is not like Wall Street or the Investment Bankers. The Finance industry can juggle the funds on a global scale and make money by following the sun with their investment, shifting from the US to Asia, then to Europe and back to the US. Do this long enough, and careful enough, and they'll have their bail out funds repaid. They sure made a lot of money for me when I was investing. Enough for me never to have to be employed again. But I pulled out all my stakes when the US Congress decided that NINJA loans and the CRA were a good thing even for people, regardless of race, who could never repay their mortgages, credit cards or car loans. Yep, I'm a little skeptical about pronouncements about how good the US auto industry is doing. Let's see the color of their repayment cash.