General Motors Co.
(NYSE: GM) dealers delivered 171,486 vehicles in the United States in January 2014. Retail sales were down 10 percent year over year, although retail deliveries of passenger cars were up slightly. Fleet deliveries declined 18 percent, due to a planned reduction in rental vehicle sales. Total sales were down 12 percent.
“We are building long-term value for our customers and it starts with award-winning new products,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of Sales Operations. “We have major launches underway and we are going to accelerate brand-building and other growth initiatives, which include executing our winning strategy to sell more pickup trucks with larger cabs, more features and advanced technology.”
Half of GM’s light-duty pickup sales in the fourth quarter of 2013 were premium-contented models that transacted at prices of $40,000 or more. That compares with about one-third of sales in the 2013 calendar year and 20 percent in 2012. The mix continued to improve in January.
Key enablers, depending on the model, include superior fuel economy, quieter cabins, higher towing and payload ratings, and better resale value. For example, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 earned a “Best Resale Value” award from Kelley Blue Book as one of the Top 10 models in the industry.
Image-building initiatives include prominent advertising during the Super Bowl, the Winter Olympics and the NCAA March Madness/Final Four basketball tournament. In addition, the Chevrolet Silverado “Hand’s-On” Truck tour will visit more than 100 locations this year, with 21 events scheduled for the first quarter.
January Sales Highlights (vs. 2013)
- Chevrolet swept the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards with the Silverado and the Corvette Stingray.
- The Chevrolet Cruze and Cadillac SRX had their highest-ever January sales.
- Retail sales of Chevrolet cars were up 8 percent led by gains for the Sonic, Malibu, Impala and Corvette. Retail deliveries of the Buick Regal and Encore were also up.
- Deliveries to commercial fleet customers, which are about 24 percent of total fleet sales, were up 17 percent. GM’s commercial fleet business has now posted sales increases in each of the last three months.
- The all-new 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, and the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, began shipping to dealers in late January
2014 Industry Outlook
Historically, January is the industry’s lowest sales month of the year. Extreme winter weather in the South, Midwest and Northeast this January further depressed GM and industry sales. The seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) for light vehicles is expected to be an estimated 15.3 million units, down from 15.6 million in December.
GM expects light vehicle sales for the year to be in a range of 16 million to 16.5 million units, which would be the industry’s best year since 2007, when 16.2 million vehicles were sold. GM expects to earn modestly higher market share in this environment.
GM also expects to grow its commercial fleet business in 2014 thanks to the ongoing launches of the all-new Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty pickups, and the fall launches of the Chevrolet City Express small van, and the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups. GM expects flat deliveries to rental companies compared with 2013.