By on August 7, 2014

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe silverU.S. sales of General Motors passenger cars slid 3.8% in July 2014. This 3348-unit loss was created in large part by the Chevrolet Cruze’s 4521-unit decline and the Impala’s 3279-unit slide, decreases which were not completely offset by smaller gains from the Malibu, Sonic, Camaro, Corvette, and Buick’s LaCrosse.

Despite a 5.5% boost in July volume from the GMC Sierra, GM pickup truck sales slid 1.6% as Silverado volume remained level and the company lost 1907 pickup sales from nameplates which are either defunct or have not yet returned.

Yet overall GM sales grew at pace with the market’s fast 9% clip in July. How?

Commercial vans, that’s how.

Yes, really.

But only in part.

Combined sales of the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana reportedly rose 64.5% to 11,466 units, or 4.5% of GM’s volume. The Express and Savana owned 34.9% of America’s commercial van category in July 2014, up from 29.4% a year ago. (Ford is currently in a transition phase as the E-Series gets set to depart and the Transit slowly takes over.)

In truth, GM’s SUVs and crossovers played the starring role in July. Total sales from GM’s 14 utility vehicle nameplates rose 28% to 100,122 units, or 39.1% of GM’s total July volume, up from 33.4% in July 2013.

GM SUV sales chart July 2014The Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, and fleet-friendly Chevrolet Captiva Sport generated four out of every ten GM SUV/crossover sales. The Lambda-platform trio – Acadia, Enclave, Traverse – brought in another 23%. The truck-based group of six full-size SUVs produced 28% of the SUV/crossover tally, leaving another 9% for the Buick Encore and Cadillac SRX. Among these 14 nameplates, only the SRX (down 7% in July but up 16% year-to-date) and the Chevrolet Suburban (down 16% in July but up 3% YTD) recorded year-over-year declines.

Thanks to its Jeep brand, Chrysler Group/FCA is another big SUV seller. Five Jeeps, plus the Dodge Durango and Journey, generated 71,553 July sales, up 33% from a pre-Cherokee July 2013.

Ford and Lincoln combined for a 17% increase to 64,951 SUV/crossover units.

Toyota, with 11,861 Lexus LX and GX and RX sales included, reported a 61,807-unit utility vehicle July, 25% jump. American Honda sold 49,277 utility vehicles. Nissan and Infiniti, Juke included, reported 36,751 utility vehicle sales.

GM SUV car truck sales chart July 2014What of history? In July 2004, General Motors sold 136,263 SUVs from eight different brands. At that time, however, this equalled 30% of GM’s July 2004 volume. Also at that time, GM’s full-size SUVs, including the Hummer H1 and H2, accounted for 43% of the company’s overall utility vehicle sales tally.

In calendar year 2004, the second, third, and tenth-best-selling SUVs in America were GM products, TrailBlazer, Tahoe, and Envoy, respectively. Through the first seven months of 2014, GM has claimed the third (Equinox), 14th (Traverse), 15th (Terrain), and 20th (Tahoe) positions.

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21 Comments on “GM’s July 2014 SUV Strength...”

  • avatar

    You have to wonder how much better the SUVs would be doing without the built in 10k deduction.

    Good to see the Savana and Express start increasing in sales, though again you have to wonder, did anyone not see that coming?

  • avatar

    I’m seeing a lot of the new Suburbans rolling around.

    The Equinox needs an update though, the thing is getting dated.

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      I don’t understand why Equinox/Terrain sales are so high. The twins were only OK when they debuted, and are now, as you said, dated. Is there a lot of money “on-the-hood?”

    • 0 avatar

      As soon as they hit the lot I started seeing tons of new tahoes yukons and escalades on the road immediately. Quite surprised by that, more than the new Silverado or Sierra even. How much cash are they putting on the hood.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    And it made headlines that gas hit $2 per gallon in 2004. Which equates to $2.52 in 2014.
    A new mid range 4×4 Tahoe cost around $35,000 in 2004 or $44,200 in 2014 dollars.
    A new 2014 mid range Tahoe is advertised near me for around $50,000 – or $39,627 in 2004.
    While the price of the trucks seems to be following along a rational trend, the price of gas has not maintained that same trend, yet consumers still wailing about the recession while complaining about the price of gas and GM who had to be bailed out because they relied too much on the easy money from SUVs all seem to have learned nothing.

  • avatar

    I’m surprised RAM doesn’t do a big SUV off the pick-up platform to challenge Tahoe/Yukon/Escalade.

  • avatar

    Fleet buyers of vans are scared to death of change. Hence, they will buy Chevrolet and GMC vans over the scary new ProMaster and Transit. Look for Express/Savanna sales to skyrocket after the death of the Econoline.

    • 0 avatar

      Probably rightly so, especially if they’re among the countless fleets that dipped an early toe in the Mercedes/Freightliner/Dodge Sprinter waters. The Transit looks promising, but the ProMaster is front-wheel drive and a FIAT underneath, neither of which seems like a compelling step in the right direction coming from stone-age reliable Econolines.

    • 0 avatar

      The 350 extended cargo and 450 cutaway will remain.

      • 0 avatar

        The 350 extended cargo and 450 cutaway will remain for the time being. The goal is to phase those out as well.
        It is true that commercial fleet buyers are a traditional bunch.

        I do wonder if Tahoe and Suburban sales are up courtesy of Ford and the demise of the Crown Victoria.

        Since the Crown Vic has died I see RCMP 4×2 Tahoe’s all over the place. I’m even seeing more 1/2 ton crew-cab trucks in service.

  • avatar

    eggsalad, you are way too logical! That is what SHOULD happen.

    And an already profitable old product, will generate even higher profits for GM.

    But here’s my prediction–which defies logic!

    I predict Express/Savanna transaction prices will increase, but sales will decline.

    The higher prices will motivate buyers to take another look at the scary new vans.

    The scary new vans will then beome more popular.

    The market for the last of the old vans will shrink.

    The transaction prices of the old GM vans will go down.

    GM will get out of the van business.

    And lose a nice little cash cow…..

  • avatar

    So GM’s crossovers are going crazy because crossovers in general are going crazy, and its truck-based SUVs are going crazy because there’s a new generation. This seems very unsurprising.

    I wonder how many more generations it will take for the truck-based SUVs to reach an infinite exterior size/interior space ratio. Each generation gets bigger on the outside, and the latest one is smaller on the inside than ever because of the new 3rd-row design. They really are some of the worst-packaged vehicles on the market.

    • 0 avatar

      The month on month figures look great because last July was horrible.

      The Equinox/Terrain are up 2% year on year. This while the cute ute segment is up 19% year on year.

      The Lambda trio is down 4%, which is more acceptable in a three row segment that’s essentially flat.

      Not crazy. Because these vehicles are old and were also-rans even when they were new.

  • avatar

    Some wonder why GM sales are not hurting from the recall of switches. But GM trucks having a good rep, compared to their compact cars. As Steve Lang says, Ford/GM trucks last and last, and most loyal customers have never driven a Cobalt.

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