Here’s how GM did this year, so far
The mighty General Motors had a good second quarter for 2019, delivering 746,659 vehicles in the United States and setting a new crossover-sales record. Sales of every Buick crossover were up year over year, with the Envision posting a 28% gain, the Enclave a 21% gain, and Encore up 5%. That was offset a bit by sedan drops, but Buick overall was up 5%.
The Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe, and GMC Yukon XL were each up more than 20%, and retail market share was roughly even with one year ago; but GM deliveries fell by 1.5%. GM has installed new body shops, upgraded paint shops and reconfigured assembly to increase capacity, which should help going forward.
GM claimed that it had the best light-duty, full-size retail pickup sales in the industry, beating Ford and Ram. The key word there is retail; Ford dominates fleet pickup sales. According to GM, its light-duty registrations (GMC plus Chevrolet) have beaten the Ford F-150 in 11 of the last 12 months. GM’s fleet mix of total sales was 23% during the second quarter. Fleet sales were up 3%, with the majority of deliveries going to Commercial and Government customers.
Customer demand for Chevrolet’s new Trail Boss models, the first full-size pickups with a 2-inch factory-installed lifted suspension, have far exceeded expectations, so GM will double production. In addition, for 2020, Chevrolet will offer both Trail Boss models with a 420-hp, 6.2L V-8 engine. These trucks compete directly against the Ram Power Wagon. The 3-liter in-line truck diesel is expected to be available later this quarter for other light-duty pickups.
In passenger cars, there was a great deal of red ink; the LaCrosse and Regal both fell by over a third, and Cadillac’s ranks were hurt with any non-crossover falling (even the Escalade SUV). The XTS did well, with a 46% gain, and the XT4 and XT6 were new; XT4 sales took off with over 7,000 sales in the quarter.
The Blazer lived up to its name with 11,772 sales for the first quarter; but, oddly, in this pickup-crazed world, the Colorado fell by 23%, to 31,669. The Camaro fell by around 9%, Cruze by 57%, Impala by 8%, Malibu by 27%. Even Silverado sales fell, with the heavy duty taking a 16% hit. The Spark had an improbably 62% gain, to 7,226 (eat your heart out, Fiat) while the Sonic fell by 12%. Outside of pickups, Chevy’s best sellers was, by far, the Equinox (85,657), followed at a great distance by the Traverse (38,152). The Malibu was the best selling traditional car, with 30,974 sales. Chevrolet as a whole fell by 5%.
Finally, GMC, which is all trucks and SUVs, did well, with a 10% gain; the only vehicles to fall were the Sierra, both light and heavy duty. (General Motors is currently the only automaker to split out its light and heavy duty truck sales; it also lists the Silverado medium-duty, with just 1,038 sales, as a new vehicle.)
GM’s average transaction prices (ATP) rose by $1,575 to a second quarter record of $37,126, compared to an industry average of $33,681, according to J.D. Power PIN estimates. Meanwhile, incentive spending as a percentage of the transaction price was 12.6%, down from 13.4% in the second quarter of 2018, according to J.D. Power PIN estimates.
Clark Westfield grew up fixing up and driving past-their-prime American cars, including various GM and Mopar V8s. He has ghostwritten auto news for the last few years, lives in Farmingdale, New York, and can be reached at +1.516-531-4021.