GM Q1 Sales Down 7% Despite Pickup and SUV Success
- Industry retail sales, consumer sentiment rebounding
- GM average transaction prices set new first-quarter company record
- Chevrolet Trax, Equinox and Colorado set first-quarter company sales records
DETROIT — General Motors announced today that it delivered 665,840 vehicles in the first quarter of 2019, with a selling mix of trucks, SUVs and crossovers above 80 percent. GM’s focus on these vibrant segments helped it earn the highest average transaction prices for any first quarter in the company’s history.
The Chevrolet Trax, Equinox and Colorado all set GM first-quarter sales records and the GMC Acadia posted its best quarter ever. The all-new Cadillac XT4 was the best-selling vehicle in its segment and the Buick Enclave was up 28 percent versus a year ago.
The all-new full-size pickups from Chevrolet and GMC are also off to a very strong start.
“Our production launch was very smooth and crew cab sales are brisk, especially those with premium trims,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president, Sales Operations. “We look forward to improving availability of our wide-range of cabs, trim series and powertrains.”
- First-quarter 2019 average transaction prices for GM's all-new, light-duty pickups were $8,040 higher compared to their outgoing models in the first quarter of 2018, with the GMC Sierra leading the segment, according to J.D. Power PIN estimates.
- Combined sales of the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 crew cabs — the first of the company’s all-new full-size pickups to launch — were up 20 percent year over year.
- Crew-cab production mix is currently running above 70 percent to meet strong customer demand, up 10 percentage points on average from the previous-generation trucks.
- More than 95 percent of the all-new GMC Sierra 1500 crew cab sales are high-end trims including SLT, AT4 and Denali.
Availability of all-new regular-cab and double-cab pickups was very limited during the quarter due to launch timing, but full production of all cab styles started in March and they currently are arriving in dealer showrooms.
GM will begin the next phase of its full-size pickup truck launch in the second half of the year with the all-new 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD.
“We are bullish on pickups and expect to gain sales momentum throughout the year,” said McNeil. “We are installing capacity in Flint to build more HD pickups in total, more crew cab models, more dualies and diesel models, too, all in response to dealer and customer demand.”
Other new models launching this year include the XT6, Cadillac’s first three-row crossover, and the CT5, Cadillac’s new luxury-sport sedan. The all-new Chevrolet Blazer is also gaining momentum, and the brand will begin national advertising for the vehicle during the second quarter as production ramps up.
Solid U.S. Economy, Strong GM Operating Discipline
GM sales in the first quarter of 2019 were down 7 percent year over year compared to a very strong first quarter of 2018.
“After a slow start to the year, the retail SAAR has risen each month since January,” said Elaine Buckberg, GM chief economist. “Consumer sentiment continued to recover in March and the other key drivers of auto sales like employment, wage growth and household balance sheets are healthy. The Fed paused in raising interest rates, which eases a headwind facing auto sales. Overall, the U.S. economy is in solid shape, which bodes well for the industry outlook.”
GM’s Commercial deliveries, which are another barometer of economic strength, grew at an average annual rate of more than 7 percent from 2012 to 2017 and were up 11 percent year over year in 2018. Commercial deliveries were close to flat to a very strong first quarter a year ago, even with limited availability of regular light- and heavy-duty pickups, and heavy-duty crew-cab pickups.
GM has demonstrated continued strong operating discipline and is very well positioned heading into the second quarter:
- The company’s incentive spending as a percentage of average transaction price was 13 percent, down close to a full percentage point year over year, according to J.D Power PIN.
- GM’s per-unit incentive spending was down $175 year over year, as domestic competitors increased their spending in the quarter, according to J.D. Power PIN.
- Average transaction prices rose $938 to a first-quarter record of $35,881, according to J.D. Power PIN.
- Inventory is a healthy 818,967 units heading into the second quarter, which tends to be a strong quarter for industry sales.
General Motors Co. is a global company committed to delivering safer, better and more sustainable ways for people to get around. General Motors, its subsidiaries and its joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Holden, Baojun, Wuling and Jiefang brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety and security services, and Maven, its personal mobility brand, can be found at http://www.gm.com.