GM October 2008 sales

Down 45 percent compared with a year ago.
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General Motors dealers in the United States delivered 170,585 vehicles in October, down 45 percent compared with a year ago. GM truck sales of 97,119 were down 51 percent and car sales of 73,466 were off 34 percent. The steep decline in vehicle sales was largely due to a significant drop in the market’s retail demand as uncertainty over the deepening credit crisis impacted consumer confidence.

“The market has been shrinking for three years, but in October we saw a dramatic decline for the industry and GM,” said Mark LaNeve, vice president, GM North America Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing. “ We are obviously disappointed in our results which reflect a difficult comparison with a strong year-ago October performance. More importantly, it also reflects an unprecedented credit crunch that is dramatically impacting the entire U.S. economy – from the housing market to big and small companies to banks to family run businesses. The credit freeze has also had a very negative impact on consumers’ confidence and their purchase behavior across America.”

“We outpaced the competition with our sales results in August and September, and fell back with the industry in October. If you adjust for population growth, this is probably the worst industry sales month in the post-WWII era,” LaNeve added. “We believe there is considerable pent-up demand from the last three years, but until the credit markets open up and consumer confidence improves, the entire U.S. economy, and any industry like autos that relies on financing, will suffer.

“We’ll do our part to continue fighting against these significant economic headwinds by bringing consumers the highest quality, most fuel efficient and affordable cars, trucks and crossovers that we can,” he said.

To that end, LaNeve announced that GM’s no-haggle Red Tag Event starts nationwide tomorrow, November 4. The Red Tag Event will provide great deals on most new vehicles in GM’s portfolio by offering a special Red Tag vehicle price and customer cash back. In addition, GM’s recently announced “Financing That Fits” program enables consumers to find financing at affordable rates from GMAC and thousands of other banks, credit unions and financing institutions.

Despite the poor results in October, there were a number of bright spots for individual GM car and truck lines, including:
- Chevrolet Malibu retail sales were up 129 percent. For the month, Malibu total sales reached nearly 11,000 vehicles. For the year, Malibu retail sales have totaled nearly 98,000 cars, up 134 percent from year-ago figures.
- The all-new Pontiac Vibe recorded a 6 percent total sales increase in October. Almost 42,000 Vibes have been sold this year, up 36 percent from the prior year.
- Saab retail sales were up 7.4 percent compared with a year ago, driven by the strong retail performance of the 9-3, which was up more than 16 percent.
- GM sold 44,500 Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Avalanche full-size pickups in October, further solidifying its segment leadership.
- GM hybrids continue to build sales momentum and the company has broken through the 10-thousand vehicle sales mark. A total of 1,496 hybrid vehicles were delivered in the month. Hybrid sales included: 372 hybrid Chevrolet Tahoe, 193 GMC Yukon and 230 Cadillac Escalade 2-mode SUVs delivered. There were 325 Chevrolet Malibu, 22 Saturn Aura and 354 Vue hybrids sold in October. GM has sold 10,549 hybrids so far in 2008.

GM continues to proactively manage inventories to align supplies with market demand. In October, only about 799,000 vehicles were in stock, down about 146,000 vehicles (or about 15 percent) compared with last year. There were about 336,000 cars and 463,000 trucks (including crossovers) in inventory at the end of October.

“These are extraordinary times for the U.S. economy, for consumers and for an auto industry that is running at deep recessionary levels relative to 1999-2006,” LaNeve said. “We are offering the highest quality and best value vehicles to customers in our history – along with great incentives. But we can’t do it alone as GM or the auto industry. It will take a coordinated national effort to turn this economy around.”

(source: GM)

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