By on September 8, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Equinox - Image: GMCrossovers.

New crossovers.

New crossovers in the biggest crossover segments.

General Motors reported a 7-percent year-over-year U.S. sales improvement in August 2017 — in stark contrast to GM’s declines in four preceding months — as the U.S. auto industry reported its eighth consecutive sales decline.

Don’t thank GM’s cars, sales of which tumbled by more than a tenth. Pickup-truck sales edged up only slightly, rising less than 3 percent compared with August 2016. But crossovers — especially newly launched crossovers, especially newly launched crossovers in America’s largest utility vehicle segments — produced massive U.S. sales improvements for GM in August 2017.

How massive? Apart from the Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Terrain, and GMC Acadia, General Motors’ U.S. sales were down 2 percent last month.

2018 Chevrolet Traverse - Image: GMThanks to a 63-percent year-over-year jump in Equinox, Traverse, Acadia, and Terrain volume — boosted not only by the arrival of all-new models but by the clear-out of prior-generation models — GM added nearly 27,000 crossover sales in August 2017, year-over-year. Those four aforementioned new models grew their collective volume by 22,504 units.

GMC’s Acadia and Terrain volume was half again as strong as it was last year at this time. Equinox volume shot up 85 percent, a gain of nearly 13,000 sales. The Chevrolet Traverse was up 35 percent to 11,337 units, its best month in more than a year.

They weren’t the only GM crossovers to make gains, of course. The Cadillac XT5 reported its best month of the year. Buick Envision sales rose 78 percent. The Chevrolet Trax and Buick Encore jointly added more than 3,000 extra sales to the ledger.GM USA Sales By Category 2017 - Image: © The Truth about CarsThese massive gains helped GM cut its inventory to an 88-day supply at the end of August, down from 104 days at the beginning of August, as GM works its way to achieving its year-end goal of 70 days’ supply by the end of the year. It wasn’t all a fleet play, either, as 93 percent of GM crossover sales occurred on the retail side, up from 91 percent a year ago. On a retail basis, in fact, GM says August 2017 was the Traverse’s best month ever.

Overall, GM incentives grew 8 percent, year-over-year, and 6 percent compared with July, rising to $4,546 per vehicle, or roughly 13 percent of the average transaction price. ALG says that was marginally less incentivization than Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles utilized in August.

In the context of the competition, the Chevrolet Equinox was America’s fourth-best-selling utility vehicle in August, ahead of the Ford Escape and behind only the Nissan Rogue (Rogue Sport included), Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4, which set its own record with 43,265 sales. The Chevrolet Traverse ranked 16th among SUVs/crossovers, the GMC Acadia 23rd, and the GMC Terrain 25th. Crossovers accounted for 32 percent of GM’s August 2017 sales, up from 24 percent a year earlier.

[Images: General Motors; Chart: © The Truth About Cars]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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13 Comments on “Why Did General Motors Report Such a Significant August 2017 Sales Gain as the Industry Slowdown Continued?...”

  • avatar

    It’s a madness gripping the general population!

  • avatar

    The right product at the right time? Well done, GM.

  • avatar

    If the new SUVs/CUVs are as nice as the 2017 LaCrosse Premium we put 1500 miles on last month, I can understand why.

  • avatar

    Well my co-worker just traded in her GLI on a ’18 Equinox this week. It actually was her second choice behind a Pathfinder (more than she wanted to pay).

    I bought a Fusion last month. It was sitting on the lot for two months with 4.7 miles on it.

    You can derive nothing from this of course.

  • avatar

    Right products? I am in the market for a new car and just drove the new Equinox a few days ago. What an overpriced piece of junk. Compared to the Mazda CX-5 I drove right before it, it cost $5,000 more (MSRP) with fewer options, terrible seats, and an engine that vibrated horribly (1.5 T just feels aweful). I see a lot of them on the road, but don’t understand why.

    I also had a new Malibu with that engine as a week long rental and had the same reaction to the engine… just noisy and it sends tingling vibrations into all of the control surfaces. And not pleasant noises or vibrations.

    The new Traverse looked ok and was obviously a lot quieter and smoother, but again, seemed to cost a LOT for the options and trim levels compared to what else is out there.

    I do think they have done a nice job with their styling, but that’s about it.

  • avatar

    GM exhibits good timing for a change.

  • avatar

    This is as good a place as any to ask Sajeev or anyone there to do a model comparison of a 1939 Buick, a ’49 Cadillac, a ’55 Chevrolet with a new Camry and an Equinox on this measurement alone: Hip Point – that distance from the ground to where your butt hits the seat. I suspect that the hip point of those early cars is much closer to the Equinox than to the Camry. I also suspect that for the past 50+ years we’ve been sold on the discomfort of sinking down into a lower seat in the name of “sporty driving”. Now that there are CUV’s with the seat height most people want, cars are obsolete for Jane and Joe America.

  • avatar

    Going to disagree a little bit – while some of it couldn’t really be helped due to the time-table of new platforms and next gen models, Gm would have been better served if these new crossovers came out a year or 2 ago.

  • avatar

    Why someone buys cars/SUVs other than Toyota is beyond me. Because Toyota is the only brand smart buyer would buy, well also Lexus if you need some luxury. From practical point of view. I would keep Toyota as the only carmaker allowed to sell in USA. Okay also Nissan for those less fortunate with bad/no credit. GM, Ford and etc – all those should be shut down by Government.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Because they are GM and as such are full of chit as the Christmas Turkey.

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