By on August 1, 2012

U.S. domestic sales  of GM are down 6.4 percent, while sales of bitter rival Toyota are up 26.1 percent. Or more, depending on how you look at it.

Toyota Motor Sales reported monthly sales of 164,898 units in July 2012, up 36.6 percent on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis and 26.1 percent on an unadjusted raw volume basis. Complete Toyota July sales chart here.

GM blames the disappointing results on diving fleet sales. Sales to rental fleet customers declined 41 percent. Fleet sales had been up 36 percent in June, which caused observers to suspect that fleet sales had been artificially shifted to June to “make” a good last month of the quarter. Now comes the price for goosing the numbers. Sales to GM’s retail customers declined 3 percent.

July Total Sales Total Change vs. July 2011 July Retail Sales Retail Change vs. July 2011 CYTD Sales CYTD Change vs. 2011 CYTD Retail Sales CYTD Retail Change vs. 2011
Chevrolet 138,942 (6.8%) 99,690 (5.4%) 1,100,604 4.5% 738,505 3.0%
GMC 34,487 (9.0%) 27,560 (5.6%) 235,528 4.5% 194,331 1.6%
Buick 14,391 (14.7%) 14,274 2.0% 104,589 (5.3%) 92,743 1.5%
Cadillac 13,417 20.7% 11,995 20.3% 76,229 (12.6%) 72,077 (4.7%)
Total GM 201,237 (6.4%) 153,519 (3.2%) 1,516,950 2.7% 1,097,656 2.1%

Throughout the day, TTAC will keep an eye on July sales.


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44 Comments on “July Sales: GM’s Fleet Sinks, Toyota Victorious...”

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    No wonder GM has re-discovered the virtues of human sacrifice.

    • 0 avatar

      I really don`t get why management at GM thinks it is a good idea to goose one month (fleet wise) to then have 30 days later the effect of that readout. Being publicly listed and more transparent (inventory levels for example) should have made them shun such antics. I suppose at least they didn`t continue goosing the fleet market so that is something.

      • 0 avatar

        What makes you think they could keep goosing the fleet market? Fleets only need the cars they need. You can inspire them to move sales forward a bit by dumping your cars, but you can’t convince them to buy cars they won’t need for several months.

      • 0 avatar

        What makes you think they’re “antics” rather than just filling the orders they get as production allows?

        And to Bertel, it’d be nice to point out that these are year-over-year comparisons, and to remind readers what was going on last year, so as to give a little context to these numbers.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        Mike…the drop in fleet from June to July was probably mostly caused by the end of production on the 2012 Malibu.

        I’m assuming a large fleet order was fulfilled on the previous generation Malibu in June ahead of the changeover to 2013MY production in July.

        Note the June Malibu total sales of 31,402 and the July Malibu total sales of 12,345.

        Conspiracy theories make good fodder for the comment field

      • 0 avatar

        CJ Ford had no problem convincing fleets to buy a lot of Crown Victorias that they weren’t going to need for months. Just 2 weeks ago my state just put it’s last Crown Vic into service and the most recent it could have been built is 10 months before. Of course that is a special case since the police knew they weren’t going to have any car that met their needs for some time. In the case of my state they had bought some Chargers but so disgusted with them they quit buying them and instead used Tahoes to help fill the void caused by the limited supply of CVs.

      • 0 avatar

        Scoutdude, The Crown Vic doesn’t have any direct replacements, which is why the fleets were willing to carry inventory. The Malibu? There’s another around the corner and Nissan’s Altima, Ford’s Fusion, Toyota’s Camry…all fill the same role at least as well.

      • 0 avatar

        CJ I did say it was a special case since they knew that for awhile the only decent alternative was the Tahoe and while it had lower overall cost than the Charger it was still much more expensive than the CV.

  • avatar

    Those new models from Buick and Cadillac can’t come soon enough, it seems.

  • avatar

    GM has a bunch of promising new cars either being introduced or on the way. I saw a Verano and it sure looked better than any Toyota product. The new ATS should be very exciting.

    • 0 avatar

      Neither the Verano or the ATS, though, will cause a significant blip on the overall sales numbers, even if wildly successful. What GM needs are home runs from the new Malibu, Impala and Silverado.

      • 0 avatar

        Isn’t the truck where all the profit is? Cheap to develop, huge sales and a nice margin on the higher spec trucks. The sad part is that non of the vehicles will – probably – be sold in numbers globally.

      • 0 avatar

        th009 has it right. An automaker derives its income from its bread-and-butter sales. In GM’s case that would be pickup trucks, midsize sedans, and the staid, all-time favorite multi-purpose sedan, all-around competent Impala.

        GM would do well to upgrade their line of half-ton pickup trucks for the 21st century, with an all-aluminum, DOHC, 32-valve 5.7-liter V8 engine, either an Allison automatic transmission or an 8-speed automatic transmission from ZF, and disc-brakes all around. Might bring it in line with the best-selling F150.

        Right now Ford is eating GM’s lunch, put their crank in the dirt and stepped on it.

        For the midsizers GM needs to reverse-engineer the best selling Camry sedan and make it an even better value by extending a 10-year/100,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty on it.

        For the Impala, GM needs to come out with a 350 (5.7-liter) or 396 (6.4-liter) to play in the same ballpark as the Chrysler 300 SRT8. Hell, even the Grand Cherokee offers monster motors. What happened to GM?

        Hey, GM can do it! If they did, people would queue up to buy those jewels like people are now doing for Chrysler products. Maybe all it takes is new ownership of GM, like what happened for Chrysler. Worked magic. Saved TWO automakers, Fiat AND Chrysler. Good show!

      • 0 avatar

        But I think for vast majority of buyers, both aluminium motors and SRT8 models matter not a whit.

        But otherwise the models do need to be very good indeed for the company to be successful.

      • 0 avatar

        Absolutely correct on the “But I think for vast majority of buyers, both aluminium motors and SRT8 models matter not a whit.”, but it reflects a range of offerings that GM does not have.

        It all goes back to that old saw, “Race on Sunday, sell on Monday.” People may dream of owning a super-hot all-aluminum 32-valve, DOHC brute of a V8, but they’ll buy that mom&pop sedan or work truck just the same, as an extension of that dream.

  • avatar
    Mike Kelley

    I will not live long enough to see Government Motors make a product better than any Toyota product.

    • 0 avatar

      Neither of us will live long enough to see GM pay back the taxpayers either.

      So it all pivots on how a person feels about the bailouts, handouts and nationalization. If they support the bailouts, handouts and nationalization, they choose to buy a GM product.

      If not, they buy something else.

      Ford comes to mind for the Buy American crowd, while Fiatsler is employing Americans in America, making cars and trucks for Americans, just like Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai and the rest for the for’ners.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        I think less people buy vehicles based upon politics than you think. One could probably assume that a ‘red’ state would have more people than a ‘blue’ state who opposed the bailout.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t think politics has anything to do with it. I’m an Independent and many of my poker buddies are Democrats, business owners, who are opposed to any kind of bail outs, as well as being against Obama’s policies.

        OTOH, several Republicans I know have told me that the bailouts have saved their banks and lending institutions. Go figure!

        It all depends on how the bailouts and handouts affect the individual. Obviously, the people who are helped by Obama’s policies are going to want to see them continue.

        But others, who have been hurt by them, or are paying for the welfare state, may feel differently.

        It’s all about how the bailouts have affected someone. One of my retired Air Force friends who is a lifelong Democrat owns an automotive repair shop.

        He did not take the comment of not having built his business up from scratch, lightly. His comment to me was that he never got bailed out, and right now he is in a mad dash to cull his employees to get below that magic 49 level before Obamacare kicks in next year.

        Several others I know have already thrown in the towel, closed their doors and retired early. It’s happening all over the nation. Not just in my neck of the woods. Those who can, drop out.

        It has nothing to do with politics. It has everything to do with money. My guess is that GM could be doing a lot better if more people chose to buy a GM product, yet I don’t see that happening.

        Now, Chrysler? There’s a success story if there ever was one.

    • 0 avatar

      Some of the current range is weak (Malibu for example) but the Sonic and Cruze seem to be at least comparable if not better than their Toyota counterparts – Yaris and Corolla.

      • 0 avatar

        The Yaris, Civic and Corolla are booooooooring! But there is no incentive to change or upgrade them because people keep buying them the way they are. Ditto with the Tacoma.

        The Sonic and Cruze could very well be the best vehicles in their class, but fleet sales deter potential buyers because fleet sales will eventually lead to a glut in the market in that segment, depressing the value of all those vehicles across the board.

        Who wants to buy a new vehicle for, let’s say, $17K, and then see the same vehicle on the program-car lot for $12K (or less) a year later?

        GM put too much emphasis on fleet sales to keep their employees working, because the demand for their vehicles was just not there.

      • 0 avatar

        HDC – I wasn`t saying the Cruze or Sonic were the best in class. It was a response to Mike Kelly’s comment that he would never live to see a GM product be better than a Toyota product. I just listed two that are commonly held to do just that.
        I agree there is no incentive for Toyota to update them much as they sell well.
        I thought fleet sales for the Cruze were limited (unlike the Impala) and incentives were also low (especially as they head into their third model year).

      • 0 avatar

        mike978, it is actually my belief that the Cruze and Sonic are more up-to-date in their respective classes than the Corolla, Yaris and Civic. So they should be selling more briskly than they are. I looked at those for my grand-daughter’s HS grad gift last year.

        It is also reasonable to assume that vehicles like those would appeal to the younger drivers, i.e. 28 yo and under. But I am surprised to see so many crusty old people driving new Corolla, Yaris and Civic these days.

        So, IMO, the aim of the game is to get young people interested in buying the Cruze and Sonic, but for unexplained reasons this goal seems to elude GM. Ford does not seem to have any problems selling their Focus and Fiesta cars to a wide demographic. And neither do the foreign brands. But GM lacks the numbers.

        I believe that the offerings from Hyundai/Kia and Nissan are robbing these sales from GM, because they offer the greater value up front, and retained value at trade-in time (in spite of their own fleet sales). People stand in line for an Elantra or Juke. For a GM product, not so much.

        I could be wrong, but that’s how I dissect this dilemma faced by GM in regards to its fleet sales. Silverado and Equinox are hot sellers for GM but don’t offset shortcomings in other segments.

        GM really needs to sell a lot more Malibu, Cruze and Sonic to the masses.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        I hope this ends up in the right place on this thread…but I don’t know how to begin to explain to you with facts that parts of your theory are wrong.

        You state:
        ‘Ford does not seem to have any problems selling their Focus and Fiesta cars to a wide demographic.’

        YTD sales of Focus/Fiesta thru July are: 183,262
        YTD sales of Cruze/Sonic thru July are: 177,356

        The Sonic is +1 in retail sales in its class and I’ll bet that the Focus and Cruze are very close in fleet sales. The 2012 Cruze is the 3rd model year and the 2012 Focus is all new.

        This is older Polk registration data, but Sonic already blew past Ford. Sonic is now ahead of Versa in retail.

        Are your age demographic comments a fact or just an observation on driving around in the middle of the desert? Ford and Chevy have the same average age of buyers.

        I’m sure I’m just a fanboy to you…but, I’m actually not. I engage with facts.

        On a side note, you often mention that you know many people simply cashing out and dropping out due to economic/political issues impacting their businesses. Who the heck are the fools buying their businesses allowing them to cash out? Are they stupid?

        Have you ever considered the fact that you are in your 60’s and many of your contemporaries are hitting retirement age? If they have been successful, more power to them…I’m not knocking them…but come on. I saw an example you gave about a friend who owns an auto repair shop getting out because of Obamacare…really?

        I’m not getting political here…but auto repair shops have flourished in the last few years. I can play your game…I know multiple people in that business…some with multiple locations and over 50 employees…they ARE NOT getting out of that business due to the threat of Obamacare…they are making very good money…they are not stupid…but they aren’t in their 60’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      Babies born this very day won’t live that long because GM has hit stall speed and Akerson has pulled the nose up.

      I think Bertel needs to revive the Deathwatch series.

      • 0 avatar

        Some forecasters I read think another bailout for GM is coming, unless some drastic changes are made. We may be seeing some changes now. Regardless, GM has to do something to remain upright.

        I, too, believe that GM needs to sell more product because even now what they sell is just not enough. It’s eerily similar to what happened prior to the bankruptcy; all those sales, and still not enough money to go around.

        If QE3 isn’t going to boost demand for new GM vehicles, and if the US economy doesn’t grow faster than the current rate, their forecasts are not out of line. And it won’t matter who’s in the White House or who runs Congress.

        Don’t forget, we still have well over 3-million home foreclosures waiting in the wings to be dumped on the market. Eventually there will be no more holding these back waiting for a market to kick up if unemployment in the US stays this high.

        I believe that the deathwatch never really left us, it was just muddled up by the bailouts and postponed for a few years.

        At least Chrysler is no longer our concern, and it is doing surprisingly well.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d say that the General pretty much outshines Toyota in the Heavy duty diesel pickup segment.

  • avatar

    Well- the Cruze diesel is coming in Q2/2013….. that’s something to look forward to.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    “Some of the current range is weak (Malibu for example) but the Sonic and Cruze seem to be at least comparable if not better than their Toyota counterparts – Yaris and Corolla.”

    But what you may also be dealing with is the question of reliability/longevity. Compare 1992 models of the Cavalier and Corolla. There’s no doubt in my mind statistically which is more likely still around in large numbers.

    I’ve been renting a Corolla for the last 2 weeks on vacation (it was an update from the Aveo, which I wasn’t aware they were still making/renting). I’ve been exploring the Berkshires, Catskills and Poconos, as well as a jaunt down to NC and back. Despite the nearly 30k rental miles, this thing is tight as a drum. In the hills you have to work the shifter to coax the downshift for passing and climbing, but otherwise its been 75-80 mph with nary a sweat. And 32-36 mpg with 3 people and luggage.

    Semi-responsive engine,decent (although archaic 4 speed) transmission, decent creature comforts…and a reputation unmatched except perhaps by Honda. All for around $17000. I’m impressed enough to think a Corolla may be daughter’s first car in a few years….

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      We agree to disagree on vacation cars. I wouldn’t want to drive a Corolla on I-95 or through the the Appalachians. Semi 10 below the speed limit, 4 banger doing the speed limit, me doing 10 over the speed limit. No need to road rage, just chill and let traffic flow. I see no reason to get in a potentially fatal accident to try to save 12 seconds.
      Now, A Corolla for your new driver should last her through grad school with just wear tear items.

    • 0 avatar

      “Semi-responsive engine,decent (although archaic 4 speed) transmission, decent creature comforts…and a reputation unmatched except perhaps by Honda. All for around $17000. I’m impressed enough to think a Corolla may be daughter’s first car in a few years….”

      So….not really interesting enough for you to buy one for yourself. You’ve just summed up the appliance that is Toyota. The Corolla is easily the car for people who hate cars and don’t like to shop for them. It’s a point-at, grunt, and-buy car. This unfortunately is what makes a great B&B car.

      If it were for me, a Focus SE Manaul with Sport package would fill the bill much better.

      • 0 avatar

        All new cars in that price range can be classified as boring appliances. The differences start to show once (in some cases “if”) you hit 100k miles, 200k miles, etc.

      • 0 avatar

        “the appliance that is Toyota…”

        What’s wrong with that?

        If you ned reliable transportation and none of your income is allocated for having fun with cars, you get the very best appliance you can afford. A Corolla is an excellent choice.

        And, having lived with Corollas for a while, when you’re ready for something nicer or more interesting, Toyota has cars that will do that – and the brand has your trust.

  • avatar

    The Regal’s sales are HALF what they were last year…thanks in no small part to the Verano, no doubt.

  • avatar

    Best-selling Chevy? Silverado.
    Second best-selling Chevy? Equinox.

    Didn’t see THAT coming!

  • avatar

    GM’s current brand lineup is just confusing. I imagine Buick and Cadillac would be doing better if their former segment of retirees knew what they were buying. Seeing someone race a Cadillac around Monaco probably scares away more potential buyers than it attracts. Same with putting Shaq in a Buick. Make one sporty-luxury and one comfy-luxury and stick with it.

    Chevy’s strategy of mixing Corvettes and Daewoos seems to be working. Use the Corvette and Camaro to keep the brand entertaining then shove people into Korean compacts when they come into the dealership.

  • avatar

    Where is the Toyota data chart??

  • avatar

    “Some forecasters I read think another bailout for GM is coming, unless some drastic changes are made.

    I, too, believe that GM needs to sell more product because even now what they sell is just not enough. It’s eerily similar to what happened prior to the bankruptcy; all those sales, and still not enough money to go around.”
    GM has pulled out of the: Heavy Truck, MDT,Light Truck, Sports cars(Corvette is a NA phenomenon)SUVs(except a small CUV)globally. Their midsize Pickup sells very poorly indeed globally. They have problems.

    • 0 avatar

      “They have problems.”

      They do, and some GM fan boys seem stuck with their heads in the sand. And then an article like this comes along and highlights that the strategy employed since 2009 is falling short of the desired outcome, which is to sell more cars at a higher profit. You can’t do that with fleet sales – there’s hardly any money in it to speak of.

      Global issues in GM’s sphere of influence take a toll all their own, and further distract potential buyers from choosing GM products. At one time GM’s competition was putting out better product, but that may no longer be so in all cases and classes, like the Cruze/Verano, Sonic and Equinox/Terrain. Those are more up-to-date than the Corolla, Civic and Yaris.

      Yeah, GM sells a lot of product, but can GM survive the next five years without further financial assistance and incentives from governments? I’m not holding my breath. I still remember 2007 and 2008, and then the collapse in 2009.

      I have said it before that I would like to see GM succeed like Chrysler has succeeded, so that we, the people, can see that bailout ‘investment’ repaid. At the rate they’re going, I don’t think that’s going to happen.

      But no one has satisfactorily explained why people will suck up foreign-brand program cars, while GM’s fleet cars languish on the used-car lots.

      • 0 avatar

        I think the main reason people will “suck up foreign-brand program cars” is because of the enthusiast vs. layman disconnect.

        Most people WANT an appliance vehicle. They want something that does the job of transport reliably. They don’t care about comfort, road noise, “infotainment”, or whether or not the interior is soft touch. They want reliability and low cost of ownership.

        Now, that explains why people keep buying Civollas and Camcords in droves. What I can never figure out is how Volkswagen keeps selling so well, given their middling reliability record, high cost of repairs, and the difficult nature of servicing them. Is the faux-nouveau-riche fashion of a German marque, any German marque, really that much of an allure?

        While we’re on the subject, Ford and Chrysler, for their parts, seem to be making steps in the right direction. Their bottom lines seem to bear this out as well. Ford, especially, is doing a good job of producing impressive products, albeit maybe not the best sellers. Their “base market premium” strategy seems to put them at least into profitability at their (relatively) low market share.

      • 0 avatar

        Ford and Chrysler really are doing well in the market where they really need to make it, the North American market.

        Ford’s innovation and execution is paying dividends across their product line, especially in the money makers like the F150, but to some extent also in the youth market, although I don’t see too many people “drifting” in Ford products.

        Their best-selling F150 has hooked into the market that matters; those individuals who want to drive a full-size pickup truck because it is the “can-do anything, anytime, vehicle for the family”, but don’t want to lay awake nights worrying about what their next tankful of gas is going to cost. Two different V6s and competent V8s should accommodate just about all comers.

        Chrysler has got to be the wunderkind of this decade. The influence exerted by Daimler is paying off handsomely for Fiat and more people are willing to forgive Chrysler for their crap cars of the past.

        Word-of-mouth advertising is the best advertising there is and also travels faster than the speed of light. Since buying my wife a 2012 Grand Cherokee we have experienced the best Jeep we have ever owned. I dare say, it is as good as our 2008 Highlander is in fit, finish, ride and handling.

  • avatar

    I`m afraid what most have said is true….
    This company should have been allowed to fail and I`m sure we would have seen a better replacement!

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