GM Says It Makes Progress in Growth Plan; Core Brands Up for Sixth Straight Month
DETROIT — General Motors' revamped strategy appears to be paying off, as the automaker's four core brands reported a 43.3-percent sales upswing in March compared to the prior-year period, marking the sixth consecutive month that combined sales for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac have increased year-over-year.
Adjusted for selling days, these brands saw a 37.8-percent increase in sales compared to March 2009.
GM contends that such promising results point to their growth plan being "on track."
"Our March results show continued progress toward our growth plan. By investing in our brands and remaining disciplined in our approach to the U.S. market, we posted solid results," explained Susan Docherty, GM vice president of marketing.
What's more, GM has seen especially strong results in some of its newer vehicles. Sales for the Chevrolet Equinox, for instance, were up 193.6 percent (unadjusted) from a year ago, while the Buick LaCrosse's sales upswing was even steeper at 223.4 percent.
"Our new vehicles, like the Chevrolet Equinox, Buick LaCrosse, GMC Terrain and Cadillac SRX, are being well-received by customers for many good reasons, including quality, safety, excellent fuel economy and higher resale values," Docherty added.
Overall, including discontinued brands, GM's March sales were 188,546 units, up 20.6 percent from March 2009, unadjusted for selling days, and a 15.9-percent increase when adjusted for selling days.
Breaking it down, Buick led the way among core brands as far as increases. Its sales jumped 75.8 percent (unadjusted) and 69 percent (adjusted).
GMC was also quite strong, as its total sales were up 44.9 percent (unadjusted) and 39.3 percent (adjusted). Cadillac saw increases of 41.8 percent and 36.3 percent (unadjusted, adjusted, respectively), while Chevrolet sales jumped 40.6 percent (unadjusted) and 35.2 percent (unadjusted).
So far this year, GM's sales have reached 477,322 units, a 15.6-percent increase from last year's pace.
The four core brands' sales are up 35.6 percent year-over-year, while the discontinued brands are down 88.1 percent.
Continuing on, dealer inventory for GM in the U.S. at the end of March was at approximately 428,000 vehicles. This is higher by about 8,000 units over February's level, but down roughly 338,000 units from a year ago.
"Its inventory of pickup trucks is somewhat high at 144,000, which equates to a 100-day supply. It also announced it is adding a third shift at Fort Wayne for Silverado and Sierra production," noted Brett Hoselton, senior automotive analyst with KeyBanc Capital Markets, in his re-cap of GM's conference call.
"The company is also running at full capacity in Arlington producing its lineup of full-size SUVs," he added.
Furthermore, Hoselton indicated, "GM's industry outlook remains unchanged as it expects vehicle sales, including medium and heavy duty truck to be 11.5 million-12.0 million units. GM is no longer disseminating its forward quarterly production schedule, so it is unknown if there are any changes to production. GM incentive costs dipped below industry average as March incentive spending was $2,800 per vehicle, down $2,000 from last year and down $200 from February."