By on July 8, 2016

Flint Silverado assembly plant

“Has GM lost market share? Yes.”
Alan Batey, President, GM North America,
Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2016

From 17.7 percent in the first-half of 2015, General Motors’ U.S. market share tumbled by more than a point to 16.6 percent in the first-half of 2016.

But, GM’s North American president points out in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, profitability is on the rise.

TrueCar estimates that, as a percentage of the average transaction price, GM’s incentive spend in June 2016 fell by half-a-percentage point to 10.9 percent, year-over-year. As for the average transaction price, TrueCar says GM’s rose 6.5 percent in June 2016 to $36,489. That is 9.4-percent higher than Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s June 2016 ATP, which also required greater incentives to achieve according to TrueCar. Meanwhile, Batey wrote in The Journal that GM has “reduced low-margin sales to daily rental companies in the U.S. by 88,500 units.”

This explains the marriage of two conflicting subjects: GM’s decreased volume in a growing market and GM’s corresponding increase in profitability.

GM isn’t losing ground across the board. Yet while many other automakers are making up for passenger car declines with booming light truck numbers, the losses put up in some corners of the GM network are not being cancelled out by gains in other sectors.

DEARBORN
Consider, for example, Ford. Through the first-half of 2016, Ford and Lincoln’s car sales are down 9 percent, a loss of more than 38,000 sales. The F-Series truck lineup — on its own — accounted for an additional 38,000 sales at Ford so far this year.

Total Ford and Lincoln light truck sales are up by more than 95,000 units, or 11 percent. As a result, total U.S. sales at the Ford Motor Company are up 4.4 percent, and the company’s market share grew 0.5 percent from 15.1 percent in 2015’s first-half to 15.6 percent this year.

GM Renaissance Center

DOWN
At General Motors, however, total volume is down 4.4 percent. GM’s passenger car volume tumbled 9 percent, year-over-year, in 2016’s first six months, a decline of 44,470 sales already this year.

The dreadfully slow launch of the automaker’s lone continuing compact car (Cruze sales are down 32 percent in 2016), Buick’s 12-percent car sales decrease despite adding 4,071 Cascada sales, a 13-percent Cadillac car sales drop despite adding 1,979 CT6 sales, and sharp decreases from the Camaro, Corvette, and Sonic are to blame.

At Buick, the ancient Enclave’s 14-percent drop means overall Buick crossover sales haven’t grown enough to counteract Buick’s car decreases. At Cadillac, transitioning from SRX to XT5 has slowed Cadillac utility vehicle sales. At Chevrolet and GMC, pickup truck sales grew only 3.6 percent in the first-half of 2016 in a pickup truck segment that grew twice that fast.

Chevrolet vs. Ford rock drop

In response to June ads in which GM went after the Ford F-150’s aluminum bed, June sales of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra slid 5 percent as Ford F-Series sales jumped 29 percent, including, Ford says, a 40-percent year-over-year increase in F-150 volume.

SUVs? The market for utility vehicles grew 10 percent in June and 8 percent in the first six months of 2016, yet during the same periods GM’s SUVs and crossovers fell 2 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

UP
Besides the behind-the-scenes work of the bean counters, however, there are significant bright spots in GM’s U.S. sales figures.

Cadillac’s hugely profitable Escalade’s sales continue to grow. Although midsize car sales are down 7 percent this year, the launch of an all-new Chevrolet Malibu resulted in a 25-percent increase, and the Malibu’s midsize market share is up to 10.8 percent from 8.1 percent a year ago. Sales of the new second-generation Chevrolet Spark mini car jumped 53 percent over the last two months, with June’s 6,559-unit result standing out as the Spark’s highest monthly total ever. Chevrolet sold 9,808 Volts in the first six months of 2016, essentially on par with the first-gen Volt’s best ever start in 2013.

GM market share chart

GM’s midsize truck tandem — Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon — reported a 21-percent first-half increase to 68,589 total sales, a drop in the bucket compared to the 380,118 full-size pickups sold by GM but equal to 32 percent of the midsize pickup segment.

GM’s subcompact utility twins — Buick Encore and Chevrolet Trax — combine to own a class-leading 26-percent slice of their segment.

But we better be careful not to discuss market share too much.

“In the past, GM was obsessed with market share; today our team is obsessed with customers, brands and sustainable profits,” writes GM’s Batey.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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111 Comments on “GM Is Losing All Kinds Of Market Share, And It’s OK With That...”


  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Isn’t this proof that, voluntarily or not, GM has altered its focus away from the “insane chasing of market share above all else” for which it and Toyota are usually excoriated?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Hopefully, since that chase for #1 market share has burned everyone who has tried it so far. GM lost the plot decades ago, Toyota went after it and gave us miserable cheap griefboxes like the last Corolla, and VW… well, we know where VW went.

      the next time some automaker states their goal is to be “#1” in marketshare, hopefully the rest of them sit back and say “go right ahead.”

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      toyota is the most profitable auto company in the world, so your statement does not reflect reality.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      I don’t think it’s an accident there’s a Saturn ION in the chart above. Sure, GM once had a far larger share of the market, but most of that volume was CRAP.

      • 0 avatar
        LIKE TTAC.COM ON FACEBOOK

        Strangely enough, there is a huge market for crap. All you need are enough stores.
        Look at all the garbage sold at Walmart – especially at Christmas and Halloween. McDonald’s has a line at the drive-thru and at the counter all day long. Convenience stores sell hot dogs, beer, soda pop, slurpees, candy and tobacco all day long. Donut shops sell out their morning production every day.
        So as long as there are car dealerships with the doors open, enough people will buy whatever is on the lot, with, apparently, no consideration of whether or not the product is of high quality or not.

    • 0 avatar
      yamahog

      I don’t think Toyota has stated their goal is #1 volume automaker since the unintended acceleration fiasco. Akio Toyoda, the CEO, has spoken at length about going back to the basics: safe, affordable, reliable, high-quality vehicles. He takes it very seiously, his name is on the cars they sell.

      I think he’s sincere though, Toyota is really hitting the mark with their new products. The RAV4 Hybrid and new Prius are fundementally good. The Corolla is exactly the car it should be – a solid, affordable, high quality, easy and cheap to own car. Good headlights, good interior room, and bluetooth audio? I’ll take it. And thanks to Akio, Toyotas are starting to drive better, the Prius isn’t a bad steer for the first time in 20 years. People who drive them seem to like the F-type Lexuses (even if they’re lightning rods for people to talk about the CTS-V which is higher performing car that costs a similar amount of money).

      And the guy is focused on fundamentals. He gave a talk about how their supplier base works – they used to have 20 types of horns. He brought the suppliers together and worked with them and the vehicle engineers to figure out that they just need 3 types of horns: commercial vehicle horns, horns for first world nations, and 3rd world horns that can survive the 3rd world duty cycles of perpetual ‘beeps’. He talked about how they’re able to simplify their supply chain (saving money), realize volume advantages (makes it easier to build and test for quality), and shorten the design time (by not specing a new horn) for their vehicles with this approach. This thinking underlies the new global platform TNGA. And the first vehicle made with TNGA is the Prius and the toyota techs I know say it’s the first time that they’ve seen old school Toyota quality since the early 90s Camry.

      I cant wait for the day that an MQB VW faces off against a TNGA Toyota.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    So GM is down from approx 29% in 2002 to approx 17% in 2016, but that’s ok? There’s always a way to spin bad news.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      GM also has fewer than half as many brands as it did in 2002.

      GM 2002: Chevy, Buick, Pontiac, Olds, Cadillac, GMC, Saturn, Hummer, SAAB.

      GM 2016: Chevy, Buick, Cadillac, GMC.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Corporations are in business to make money. There is no such thing as making up for per-unit losses with increased volume. It *might* be bad news, but it is more likely that it is very *good* news.

      The fact is that we are likely to have stable gas prices for at least as long as the current product cycle and that much larger sales volume of electric vehicles offers the possibility of plenty of gas at cheap prices for Silverado customers for a long time to come.

      • 0 avatar
        TheEndlessEnigma

        If GM was designing and build cars people wanted they would have a larger marketshare and would be more profitable. GM is cruising along on the strength of its trucks and SUV’s, a strategy they have relied upon in the past. Where did that get them? The economy tanked, gas prices spiked and GM did not have competitive non-struck based products to sell; they went tits up as a result.

        Build something people want and they will come. Toyota and Honda ARE NOT truck based and seem to do well on cars, quite frankly if they can do it then GM should be able to get its collective head out of its ass and do it as well. Build it and they will come.

        • 0 avatar
          smartascii

          Not always. Witness Hyundai/Kia. They used to be terrible. Then, the 10 year/100k mile warranty was introduced and they advertised the bejeezus out of it. Suddenly, they were terrible cars with factory backing that lasted longer than your payments. This got people to buy their bad cars, and they used that money to develop bad cars with more features for less money than everyone else, and that drove sales even higher. Now they’ve used *that* money to build cars that are pretty competitive and have largely achieved pricing parity with the Japanese. GM could have done this, but instead, they cut their warranty back for 2016, which suggests to me that even they don’t think their cars last that long. It appears to me that GM still thinks it has enough brand equity and a large enough “buy American!” consumer base to make uninspired cars and trucks while they burn through billions letting some South African try to turn Cadillac into literally anything but a builder of attractive, quality luxury cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      GM can’t be profitable and maintain 20%+ US market share at the same time, because that volume isn’t possible without pricing things at a loss.

      • 0 avatar
        JustPassinThru

        Sure it is. IF they have product customers actually WANT. GM had over forty percent of the American market in the 1960s and 1970s.

        Trying to grow market share with unappealing product by cutting prices…that’s a losing route. VW tried it in the mid-1970s, as the DM-to-dollar exchange rate was going insane. After a short time they wisely gave up – and that was the time they reinvented themselves as the RICH People’s Car Company.

      • 0 avatar

        I respectfully disagree. GM has no marketing talent and is incapable of hiring it as they have no clue.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        GM can’t magically increase its sales by 50% and get market share back into the mid-20% range without relying on deep discounting, no matter what it does with the product. Too much competition.

        GM could have 50% market share when there were essentially three automakers, plus some irrelevant niche players. Those days are long gone and they ain’t comin back.

        • 0 avatar

          5 points of share within 6 months and less spend.

          they won’t listen to a car car salesman, go figure.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Saw an Envision in the flesh, what an unimpressive hunk of ****.

            How many did you order for your lot? :D

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Just checked a local place; they have two on the lot.

            Wow! The first VINs I’ve seen starting with an “L”.

          • 0 avatar

            I refuse to sell an Envasion. have already talked 10 people out of it. fairly easy once I simply say China.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            So what’s the popular alternative, an Enclave?

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “So what’s the popular alternative, an Enclave?”

            A nice CR-V and 10 grand of frozen pierogis?

          • 0 avatar

            so far only 1 Enclave, 2 Equinox, a Traverse, 1 Jeep, 1 Edge, a Regal, 2 used, the other undecided and not yet delivered.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            The Envision is the *only* true Buick on sale in the US. Buick is a Chinese brand that just happens to sell mediocre cars/crossovers in the US for the wives of Sierra buyers. Buick dealerships are the dumping grounds for old Opel models and surplus Chinese Buicks.

            Americans have to get over the fact that they aren’t the center of the universe anymore. We can build a wall, but it won’t change the fact that the world has developed around us.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “5 points of share within 6 months and less spend.

            they won’t listen to a car car salesman, go figure.”

            They probably would if you had something to offer. Your plan wouldn’t net half a point if it’s the same one you were peddling on Autoline. Incentivized test drives? No one’s thought of that before…

          • 0 avatar

            I’ve personally delivered 27,000 retail units. how many have you ever sold Danio? well punk?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Buickman is as high as BTSR. GM could never increase production by 30% in 6 months to enable his fantasies. The factory and supply chaing capacity do not exist.

            “Get off my lawn, punk!”

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            @Caped Crustacean

            Way to go, slick. You managed to insult the last guy on this site to deserve that name.

          • 0 avatar

            there’s more than enough product in the field and pipeline to accomplish what I claim to be able to do. beyond, that< I'm sure Mark Reuss could build sufficient quantities.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Buickman,
            There’s only 60 days of supply in the field, maybe 75. So, best case, your “plan” would work for 2 months, and then what? back to normal, except that the channel is now empty.

            Please. Think before you type. You know the Rothschilds are watching!

          • 0 avatar

            in 1904 Billy Durant returned to Flint from the New York “Auto Show” with sold orders for 1108 “machines”. there was no factory. he bought the Hamilton Farm and so became General Motors. I sell ’em, trust me, they’ll get built. if you don’t know that, you don’t understand our business.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Apologies, Buickman,
            I forgot that you have the magical ability to make cars without a factory. Thanks for the anecdote from your childhood – it really puts it all in perspective, now.

          • 0 avatar

            congrats! your advanced degree in Utter Nonsense qualifies you for employment as a GM marketing exec. you’ll have plenty of peers to interact with.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            LOL!

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If one is going to claim that GM could increase its US sales by several hundred thousand units per year in a short period of time, then you had better be prepared to tell us which OEMs are supposed to be on the receiving end of that conquest.

            There is no way for GM to add that many units without taking them away from someone else. And I’m sorry, but you’re not going to find that many customers who will be willing overnight to punt on the other brands that they prefer for a GM product.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    What he says instantly made me think about the Iraqi Information Minister’s famous funny pronouncements during the Iraqi war, remember him? :D

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    You just can’t get away from Engine Charlie’s “GM = America”. Taking profits while ceding dominance appears to be the new dynamic.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    More important questions:
    -Are the porducts they’re selling now better and more competitive than they were in 2002?
    -Are they more profitable?

    I think the answer to both questions is yes.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      The problem for GM is that the bar is higher today. A generation ago, many consumers would say: “The GM car I’m looking at is roughly close to a Honda, so I guess I’ll buy it.”

      Today’s consumer wants the best. Merely competitive product (Malibu, Cruze, Traverse) doesn’t cut it anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I’d say consumers don’t necessarily want the best – they want the best reputation…which explains why cars like Corollas sell. Once you get past that car’s rep for reliability, it’s thoroughly uncompetitive – it feels cheap, and it’s crappy to drive.

        So, if quality is the goal, then GM’s going in the right direction. They just have a LONG way to go.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          No.

          What they want isn’t necessarily the most fun amusement-park ride or Track Day toy – what they’re looking for, in this age when a car costs more than a home did twenty years ago…what they’re looking at is durability and reliability.

          Which is what the Corolla is and still offers.

          UNLIKE GM, Toyota never slapped together shoddy bottom-end cars with glaring engineering defects, and sold them proudly. They had a few clunkers – their flat-front van comes to mind, it was not engineered for export and problems did show up – but they didn’t do many of them and they corrected their errors as they found them.

          Customers can be fooled but only for a short time. Where’s Yugo today?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I’m not talking about the Corolla being as entertaining to drive as something like a Mazda 3 – it’s noticeably worse to drive than *anything* in this class of car. It’s underpowered, loud, buzzy and does not feel solid. Hell, the Dart is better to drive. You don’t have to be an enthusiast to notice the difference. Build quality isn’t impressive either. If you’re not a “Toyota buyer” you won’t be buying one.

            It sells on reputation, like I said. And, yeah, people buy that. But this isn’t 1990 – the competition isn’t that much worse when it comes to reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        If consumers wanted “the best” everyone would be driving Mazdas and Hondas – no one would buy a Corolla in particular. Consumers want refrigerators on wheels that drive themselves – ideally not into the 18 wheeler turning left.

      • 0 avatar

        With sedans and now CUVs, GM’s tradition goes like this:

        First phase: benchmark a current-gen Accord, Camry, CR-V, RAV4, etc. They match it on the specs and cut some corners with vendors. Then they launch it with great hoopla but a bad mix of product. The supporting marketing ranges from forgettable to horrible. Dealers try to upsell to what’s most profitable for them.

        Next phase: the competition introduces something better. GM’s stuff becomes distressed merchandise for the next 3-5 years, because their product cycles tend to be 7 years rather than the 5 of the Japanese/Korean brands. Even their successes like the 2008 Malibu, Lamba crossovers and Cruze are victim to this.

        Except for some trucks and Corvette, has it not been this same Rinse & Repeat cycle for the past 20 years?

  • avatar
    Speed3

    I’m pretty sure we all heard this story in the mid aughts when sales were sliding.

    I’m more concerned about GM’s new product and these slow launches. Chevy’s car sales should not be down considering everything except the Sonic is new!

    GM has zero margin of error and each new vehicle needs to be a home run. The CT6 and CT5 are…not that.

    In fact, if you had to choose a best in class vehicle, how many would even be GM? That is the problem. Add a history of poor quality, bad brand reputation, higher operating costs, etc.

    EVEN IF GM manages to turn things around significantly. It’s too little, too late. The trifecta of electric cars, car sharing, and driverless technology is going to upend the traditional automakers.

    The Silicon Valley Kids are coming hard for the auto market, so get ready.

    Also, BYE FCA.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    The real issue here is that GM is so weak in crossovers. The Traverse and Equinox were left to die on the vine, while money was diverted to Cadillac.

    FCA has the same problem, but Jeep has papered over their poor investment choices (Alfa Romeo).

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “while money was diverted to Cadillac”

      Christ, that is just so wrong. Not your statement, the decision.

      • 0 avatar
        Truckducken

        The decision is not wrong; look at the luxe Germans’ profit margins. The execution, on the other hand, is a fiasco. I will defer to DW on the specifics.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          “I will defer to DW on the specifics.”

          Me, too. Hopefully his deep-cover mission will soon end and he’ll get back here.

          But don’t you think it takes a special kind of inbred corporate hubris for GM to imagine that Cadillac can, in the eyes of sophisticated buyers, ever recover from its present Bozo Brand status?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            -.. .– / .– . / .- .-. . / .– .- .. – .. -. –. / ..-. — .-. / -.– — ..- .-.-.- / .–. .-.. . .- … . / .-. . .–. — .-. – / .. -. / ..-. — .-. / -. . .– / — .-. -.. . .-. … .-.-.- / .— — …. .- -. -. .-.-.-

            http://morsecode.scphillips.com/translator.html

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Where’s my Enigma machine?

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “Where’s my Enigma machine?”

            I tried converting that and got an error message.

            I think the Germermans captured DW and are trying to feed us disinfo. Except this Herman don’t know nothin’ ’bout machinery. They just grabbed him outta the kitchen ’cause the real guy went AWOL.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Try the radio in the coffee pot.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “Try the radio in the coffee pot.”

            I see NUHH-THINK!

          • 0 avatar
            LIKE TTAC.COM ON FACEBOOK

            –.- … -.. –.- .-. …
            –… …–

        • 0 avatar
          frozenman

          How about tweaking and refining your volume sellers as best you can at the price point your playing in, establish a rep ala Toyota? Honda, and then play your luxury card? Contempt for your up and coming aspiring buyer is a little short sighted, but this is GM after all.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      Where did the brains go that made the Bravada and invented the pseudo-lux cute ute?

      The Equinox is like a monument to just missing the mark. The people I know who drive them do so because they want to use their employee discount and they want a midsize CUV. I’m sure they would have been far happier with a modern incarnation of the Trail Blazer. They tell me at every opportunity – it just feels compromised.

      The Terrain is nice, but I recall being “bring along car buddy” for someone seeking something big and safe and winter warrior ready….which the Terrain was for five minutes until a Ford Edge appeared with all the features and more space for the same money.

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        My mother, resplendent in her GM Family First discount from my late father, drove both the Equinox and the Terrain, and still went with the Jeep Renegade, and I can’t blame her.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          The Terrain has no redeeming features, and the ear popping turbulence noise when you open a rear window at 60MPH is a great indicator of its quality.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    We’re losing market share but we’re doing great.

    -says every CEO ever.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    It’s called “right sizing.” And someone must have email GM the Wikipedia entry for it.

    Thing is, I’m not sure where GM is focused or should be. They seem to be all over the place based on this article, I can’t pick out one area where they shine. I’m not sure that’s a good thing: as they continue to shrink/right-size, what will they be known as? A BOF truck company that with the leading compact pickup in a field of…themselves? A crossover company with ancient crossovers and no compact SUV at all? A car company that sells Sparks but can’t sell Cruzes? They’re used to trying to be everything, but if they’re going to shrink they need to develop a more focused identity. I’m not sure what that identity should be. Apparently, neither are they. :)

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Well at least it sounds as if the “we’ll make it up in volume” mantra is dead and buried. How long did that fiasco last? The first gas crisis until bankruptcy?

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    Metrics are necessary for evaluating business health, but relying on one to the exclusion of others is a fatal mistake.

    GM chased market share back in the day because they were the vehicular DeBeers of America, once upon a time. Those days are dead and gone, for better or worse.

    GM needs to evaluate their performance on what matters; profit. Having a vehicle in every segment in order to boost market share leads to sales cannibalism , duplicate products , and lost money as unprofitable platform options dragged the rest of the line down. That was GM in the early 90s to a T.

    Insofar as their products go, GM is doing OK. Their issue is customer perception. If BMW drops a car with junk connecting rods, customers won’t care. Because perception.

    If GM drops a model with defective tire stem caps, “och we’ve been screwed by the UAW again! GM sucks! Down with the brand! I’m buying a Honda!”

    Fixing that issue is gonna take time. GM could make a better Toyota then Toyota , and it won’t matter.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      They have the perception problem due to their own decades-long halfassery. GM and their boosters need to stop complaining about it and accept that it is a well-deserved part of their reality.

      They spent a generation getting themselves into this mess, and should plan on a full generation of good products backed by good customer service to get out of it. If they’re not willing to make that commitment then they should close up operations and go home.

      • 0 avatar
        LS1Fan

        Except GM aren’t the only ones who ran the halfassery business model.

        Look at modern German makes. Not a single desirable German car made in the last decade that can be affordably driven past 50,000 miles without a warranty. Die hard enthusiasts live like San Fransiscans , wondering if today is The Big One. Every instrument panel light is a potential harbinger of financial doom.

        Yet only GM gets the hate. Now why would that be?

        I see no civic unrest on behalf of the poor folks who dropped the better part of a house down payment on a lump of unreliable euro iron . Maybe I’m crazy, but if I spend $50,000 on a machine , I expect it to equal the reliability of the $25,000 machine it’s replacing.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          But going in to that European relationship you should have known the price of entry. I highly doubt European cars will ever have the same reliability as the Japanese, Koreans, or heck even the American brands, at least not in my lifetime. We’ve had four European brands – all have been high maintenance but we knew that going into the relationship. That’s the cost of the dance.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      But they don’t. And, having had the chance, they didn’t when they could.

      And their cynical explotation of customers, especially bottom-end customers, is going to be in buyers’ memories for a LONG time.

      THIS was a critical mistake. The first new-car purchase happens when a buyer is younger, and happens with a bottom-rung model. Back in the 1970s, young people with steady jobs could look at, say, the Vega. And many bought.

      And they cursed that pile of dung, and the ripoff corporation that made it and sold it to them, proudly. And contemptuously told these young customers that if they wanted quality, they had to buy higher-up on the price ladder.

      Which was not an option to them. The option that WAS there was the Japanese explosion of affordable, well-designed, well-built cars. These young people went Japanese, and stayed there.

      They’re in their 70s now; and if they’re not driving Lexuses or Acuras they’re getting M-B or BMW units. NEVER…AGAIN.

      And GM cannot, quickly or even in a generation, get them back. ONLY…going back to basics and staying there for two decades, of well-made cars all up and down the price ladder…ONLY that will eventually let them recoup what they lost so quickly with cynical exploitation.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    “GM could make a better Toyota then Toyota”

    That made reading your comment like watching a Packers game.

    Winning!

    Winning!

    WTF?!

  • avatar

    By now its clear that GM has absolutely no desire to regain market share or its former position. They continuously mention their focus on retail sales, increased profitability, and less incentive spend.

    Although they are still hanging on to #1 in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      AGR, I think GM has the desire to regain market share alright, but the new car buyer doesn’t have the desire to buy GM. Too many, like me, have voted with their feet and left the GM fold.

      It remains to be seen if GM can pull the wool over the young people’s eyes today, like they did a long time ago with my generation.

      If GM goes belly up again, there stands the US taxpayer, the US Treasury, and the full-faith-and-credit of the United States, ready, willing and able to bail GM out once again, no matter who’s in the White House, or which party runs the Hill.

      • 0 avatar

        @highdesertcat

        In Canada when GM sales are a touch behind, they know exactly how to “throttle up” to gain additional momentum.

        Are they willfully holding back? Perhaps they are.

        Is it possible that GM by casually focusing on retail sales, is leaving room to the other 2 “Detroit 3” to keep it all balanced out among themselves.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          In the US, the Detroit 2 appear to be laying off the low quality fleet sales (rental, as opposed to profitable police).

          The gap is being filled by Nissan and FCA.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            “profitable police” What’s good for Detroit is still bad for the American taxpayer. Maybe GM will be small enough to let die by the next time they try to loot the treasury.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          AGR, anything is possible, yet I would find it difficult to understand the motivation of GM for “… leaving room to the other 2 “Detroit 3” to keep it all balanced out among themselves.”

          Perhaps.

          In my mind GM would be out to snag any sale they can in their quest to become a viable, self-sustaining, profitable company after the bailout. So far, all GM has been doing is robbing Peter to pay Paul.

          And GM’s ghosts of the past have not been helping either, like the faulty ignition switch contributing to the death of several people.

          I’m more inclined to think that the US auto market is Ford’s to lose because IMO GM just doesn’t have its act together with strategy, product and pricing.

          I’m certain Ms Barra is planning an all-out assault on the US auto market to recapture sales during 2017. Right now, ALL of GM’s product is overpriced for what the buyer gets for their money.

          Fiatsler IMO is a a stray dog looking for a home. And just like a stray dog, Fiatsler has some endearing qualities, like Jeep. But like a stray dog it also has some major bad habits, like anything Fiat.

          Time will tell. But if I were looking to buy a vehicle, I would not look to GM.

          And it appears, other potential buyers are thinking along those same lines because GM continues to lose market share.

      • 0 avatar

        Has the number of American jobs dependent on GM has fallen significantly since 2009? My suspicion is that it has.

        We might just say “buh-bye” if GM hits bankruptcy again, given the current Congress. Hillary is tough and no-nonsense like Margaret Thatcher was with British Leyland. She is not going to tolerate more of their “We Promise Real Change” BS if the economy is reasonably solid and unemployment is below 6%.

  • avatar
    Robbie

    This is a bit like saying “my lawn isn’t completely yellow anymore!” after two months of record rainfall.

    With gas at such low prices, shouldn’t a gas guzzler maker like GM be making record profits and have high market share?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Ford does! Because Ford has the better products.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        FCA is doing pretty well too. Ok, that means primarily Jeep and Ram, but that’s all it takes. :) FCA actually has more of a focus than GM.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Well, for now FCA is OK being in the Jeep-and-Ram biz.

          But if gas gets expensive again, they are well and truly boned.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            I disagree. FCA is selling a lot of crossovers (Renegade, 500x, Cherokee) as well. Plus, the Ram ProMaster is actually a FWD full-size van (pretty neat idea the way they did it actually) and relatively fuel-efficient compared to the competition. Besides, no one buys a Wrangler for fuel economy. FCA will be OK being the “CUV/SUV” company even if gas prices spike, and they have a market focus now, just as Ford does (outside of the F150 they’re all about driving dynamics). GM needs to find a similar focal area to succeed as something other than a world-bestriding titan.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            FreedMike, I heard that the US has the largest untapped shale oil deposits of any and all nations on the globe.

            Where we (the US) were forecast to run out of oil in 200+ years, that has now been revised to 400 years.

            Seriously!

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            One has to look shale oil and gas deposits based on extraction ability. USA currently ranks #2 for shale oil. Russia is #1 and China #3. Canada sits at #10.
            Shale gas is different. USA is #4 with China #1, Argentina#2, and Algeria #3. Canada is #5.
            If one looks at just shale oil deposits the USA may have the most but it isn’t all extractable.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    While I read this item the TV is playing “How it’s Made Dream Cars S04E02 Chevrolet Camaro 720p”. The program extols GM’s precision manufacturing methodologies. It does not mention every part comes from a lowest bidder.

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    This chasing profit thing only works so far though I wager, since their manufacturing capacity (plus sunk costs) and dealer network require a certain level of volume.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    So when they are at 1% they will be hugely profitable!

  • avatar
    plee

    I think that GM is only cutting back rental sales temporarily. Right now they have thousands of one year old rentals being held in storage because dealers will not pay enough for them at auction. My guess is that they are waiting for these units to be moved before increasing their rental deliveries again. Maybe some financial reasons why they do not want to take losses right now on all of these cars that languish at auction. Just my hunch.

    • 0 avatar

      you are correct, but it’s worse than that with Company Cars and Lease Returns they are swimming in Red Ink as if Wagoner came back. their newly created, used vehicle site to circumvent dealers is an epic fail.

  • avatar
    ihbase

    As always, great reporting Cain. Thanks for your work.

    The following statement may not be quite accurate: “In response to June ads in which GM went after the Ford F-150’s aluminum bed, June sales of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra slid 5 percent as Ford F-Series sales jumped 29 percent, including, Ford says, a 40-percent year-over-year increase in F-150 volume.”

    Maybe the ad flopped. Maybe it was highly effective.

    Without more data, any conclusion is unsupported. The sales numbers may not be “in response” to the cause cited (the ad) and instead may be merely correlative. In the alternative, the ad (though admittedly just as stupid as Ford’s Superduty frame-strength-crane ad) may have successfully prevented a greater market slide. In other words, it could have been a tremendously effective (but really stupid) ad if sales would have been worse without it.

    Presumably, the well-paid and well-coifed heads in the ad agencies focus-grouped this stuff and have data to back up GM advertising decisions. But then again, Ford once thought the “Bold Moves” and Toby Keith were solid advertising campaigns and Cadillac actually believes that NYC is still a center of great design…. So perhaps it would be a mistake to assign rational decision-making to auto executives.

    My point here is that even though the ad was painfully stupid, it may have been highly effective if it prevented a further loss of market share.

    Now, if only the Mustang enjoyed the same body assembly quality as the F-150, Ford would really be killing it.

    -Michael

  • avatar
    Vetteman

    GM is still after decades only making money from its full size truck platform , pickups and tahoe , suburban and all the variations . This leaves them yet again vulnerable to a recession when truck sales get hit hard . What I don’t understand since this product line is so important to the company why have they not invested in making them better . The 2016 Silverado is pretty much a 2001 silverado in technology and build quality. I also agree with Buickman on their lack of marketing . When i was trying to buy a new truck recently I went to GM’s web site many times to build and price a truck and it was hands down the most frustrating , hard to use website of all the full size truck companys . I have observed this many times over the last 4 or 5 years as I have shopped for a vehicle . What is wrong with these guys, Internet shopping is here to stay As a retired GM dealer employee and their excuses for declining market share , Thirty years ago I was told many times by GM executives that the company was too big and hard to manage and as a result they were not able to do it all and retain market share . A while back I ran in to that same fellow and I proceeded to tell him the company had been successful in reducing the size of the company but market share continues to decline . He was silent about my comment
    Maintaining and growing market share is a major indicator of the health of any company and GM is still in decline .

    • 0 avatar

      after 42 years of retail auto sales, delivering 27,000 individual units, I can speak with experience and knowledge. it would take me 6 months to gain 5 points of share while decreasing spending. GM executives are too insulated, isolated, ignorant, incompetent, pompous, and stupid to listen, or even consider the voice of one who knows.

      all they understand is brand image destroying distress merchandising. 20% off, yeah that’s the ticket. numbskulls! it’s like Red Ink Rick and Mark LaNaive never left.

      Buickman
      Founder
      GeneralWatch.com

  • avatar
    Vetteman

    Buickman I started at a Chevy dealer in 1974 and for many years proudly felt I was associated with the best cars and trucks money could buy . Sadly as the years went by I came to the realization that GM that once proud Icon of Americas industrial might , A major element of the Arsenal of democracy that helped us win World War 2 The worlds largest corporation had lost its core competency . The company had wandered off into buying other companys not in the car business and decided it wanted to earn its money by being a financial company . They lost their focus which has led to the mediocre products they sell today . I am glad to see that you are still fighting the good fight but for me I am more convinced with every passing day GM is still on a path to a bad ending . Importing chinese cars is a mistake and another on the long list of bad decisions .

  • avatar
    bd2

    As usual, a misleading GM hit-piece from the WSJ.

    Yes, market-share has shrunk, but profitability is up.

    And as for the former, that is due largely to lower “bad” fleet sales and the age of GM’s crossover fleet (such as the Lambdas).

    Also, GM is in the process of replacing most of its sedan lineup (Cruze and Malibu being recently replace with the Lacrosse, Regal, ATS/CTS replacements on the way).

    Even in a market increasingly moving to SUVs/crossovers – having new sedan models will help slow the decline in sedan sales (see how the new Civic is doing for Honda).

    The new Malibu is on track to do 240k in sales for the year which is 45k more than for last year and would be the best sales year for the Malibu in decades.

    The quality in GM’s newer sedans can be seen in the marked rise in sales in Korea (where the Impala and Malibu have proven to be quite popular).

    GM should be able to recover some of that market-share when they finish replacing its sedan and crossover lineups (and add new crossovers to Cadillac) and increase production of in-demand models (like their mid-size trucks).

    Right now, numerous factors have coincided to reduce GM’s market-share.

    But hey, hasn’t the WSJ long criticized GM for focusing on market-share and not profits?

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