July Auto Sales: GM's Freshest Faces off to Strong Starts
Deliveries at General Motors slipped by 6 percent in July, based on sales of 201,237 vehicles, but—like Ford—the General pointed to a pre-planned decline in fleet sales (of 41 percent) as the culprit. On the other hand, unlike Ford, GM also went into the red with its retail sales, which were off by 3 percent.
Where GM found its mojo in July was with its newer products, especially the smaller ones, and its premium Cadillac entries. Relying on GM to slice up the segments, the automaker indicated:
- Combined retail sales of its small cars (in the compact segment and below) garnered a 41 percent increase.
- The Buick Verano delivered 4,235 units last month, its seventh straight monthly improvement following its premiere in December 2011.
- In the subcompact segment, the Chevy Sonic brought in 6,278 sales and has now led its class in retail sales for four consecutive months.
Chevy's first minicar, the Chevrolet Spark, reported 1,460 sales in its first month on the market.
- GM's lux division reported a 20.7 percent sales boost as the Cadillac Escalade (1,123 units, excluding ESV and EXT), Cadillac SRX (4,911 units) and Cadillac CTS (4,743 units) all grew deliveries, and the all-new Cadillac XTS luxury sedan debuted to 1,739 sales.
Also, in a strong sign the economy is continuing to recover, GM's body-on-frame work vans, the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savanna, both welcomed seriously robust growth: The former outperformed last July's results by 74.6 percent, on 9,359 deliveries, and the latter notched a gaudy 117.6 percent improvement, courtesy of 2,653 sales.
"Cadillac hit a home run and our newest Chevrolets and Buicks are performing very well," reported Kurt McNeil, vice president of U.S. Sales Operations for GM. "Signs of a housing recovery and good news on consumer confidence and household income should help keep the light-vehicle selling rate in the 14-million range and drive seasonally higher truck sales as we move forward."