February 3, 2009.
Driven by an 80 percent reduction in fleet sales, General Motors dealers in the United States delivered 129,227 vehicles in January, down 49 percent compared with a year ago.
Retail sales were off 38 percent, but retail market share held steady compared with December. GM's retail share performance was assisted by reduced-rate APR financing capacity through GMAC and a GM loyalty cash offer. GM January total car sales of 43,943 were off 58 percent and total truck sales (including crossovers) of 85,284 were down 42 percent compared with a year ago. Additionally, retail sales for GM cars and crossovers combined were about 65 percent of sales mix in the month.
"We're attacking this unprecedented market as aggressively as possible, while offering more vehicles than ever that provide great value and that Americans enjoy owning," said Mark LaNeve, vice president, GM North America Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing. "Our retail market share is a bright spot, holding steady above 21 percent for the second month in a row. That's a full point above the trailing 12-month average. It's important to realize that we accomplished this retail performance as the overall market ran about 6 million vehicles behind where it was last January (on a seasonally-adjusted annual rate) and every manufacturer was deeply impacted."
The newly-launched Chevrolet Traverse crossover continues to gain traction in the market place with total sales of more than 5,200 vehicles. Chevrolet's crossovers, HHR, Equinox and Traverse had 11,666 retail sales, a 10 percent increase compared with last year. The strength of Traverse's launch helped push retail sales of all GM crossovers to 20 percent of all retail vehicles sold by the automaker in January, up about 3 percentage points from a year ago.
"It is important for America to realize that in cars and crossovers, Chevy is fully competitive with Toyota and Honda and continues to gain strength. The Malibu is performing well and the Traverse is building momentum," LaNeve added. "We're doing our part to get vehicle sales moving again. For example, GMAC is providing more reduced-rate APR financing capacity with the Presidents Day Sale, and we're offering bonus cash on select models. Additionally, our national roll-out of the credit union 'Invest in America' program offers supplier pricing and available credit union financing for millions of members."
A total of 923 GM hybrid vehicles were delivered in the month, illustrating the wide range of hybrid product offerings available. GM offers the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade 2-mode hybrid SUVs, the Chevrolet Malibu and Saturn Aura mid-size sedan, and Saturn Vue compact crossover hybrids.
GM has announced reductions in first quarter production to adjust inventories for marketplace demand. This strategic move helped reduce inventories and related costs for GM and its dealers during this historic downturn, but the lack of production also meant that fleet vehicles, which typically are built to order, have been delayed. GM's fleet sales of just over 13,000 vehicles in January were at their lowest levels since 1975.
GM inventories dropped compared with a year ago. At the end of January, only about 801,000 vehicles were in stock, down about 103,000 vehicles (or 11 percent) compared with last year. There were about 363,000 cars and 438,000 trucks (including crossovers) in inventory at the end of January. Inventories were reduced about 70,000 vehicles compared with December. Importantly, of the pickup trucks in stock, 96 percent of the GMC Sierras and 97 percent of the Chevrolet Silverados are all-new 2009 models.
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