GM sales spike up due to clunkers program

General Motors continued to rebuild sales momentum in August as dealers in the United States delivered 246,479 vehicles, far and away the company's highest total and retail sales performance of 2009. The August total, when compared with a very strong sales performance in August 2008 and lower fleet sales this year, was down 20 percent. Retail sales were down 17 percent while fleet sales declined 29 percent. However, when comparing GM's strong August total sales with July, volume was up more than 57,000 vehicles, or 30 percent month-over-month. The hugely successful Federal "Cash for Clunkers" program contributed to the increase, and GM has announced it will ramp up production to restock already tight dealer inventories.

"The Cash for Clunkers program was certainly a success, but our momentum continues to build on the strength of our new cars and crossovers such as the Chevrolet Malibu, Equinox and Camaro. Now we have the Buick Lacrosse, Cadillac SRX and GMC Terrain hitting the market," said Mark LaNeve, vice president, U.S. sales. "We believe the program was a strong shot in the arm for the economy and that our four core brands – Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac – are well positioned with new products to take advantage of the ongoing recovery in the market. Our new vehicles are contributing to our stable share performance for the past five months – running in the 20 percent range."

Compared with a strong performance in August 2008, driven by the "Employee Discount for Everyone" promotion that resulted in the highest monthly sales total last year, GM's overall sales declined 62,338 vehicles, or 20 percent. Retail sales of 187,410 vehicles were down 17 percent, while fleet sales of 59,069 vehicles were off 29 percent. GM total car sales of 118,744 were down 5 percent compared with a year ago and truck sales of 127,735 were down 31 percent.

When compared with July's retail performance, there were several product highlights in August for GM's core brands:

  • Core brand (Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac) total sales increased 29 percent with retail sales increasing 21 percent.
  • Chevrolet retail sales increased 28 percent. Chevrolet Aveo, Cobalt, Impala, Malibu and Camaro contributed to a Chevrolet car retail increase of 53 percent. Aveo had its best sales month ever. Chevrolet truck sales increased 13 percent, led by increases by Silverado, Colorado, HHR, and the all new Equinox and Traverse.
  • GMC retail sales increased 3 percent. The Canyon mid-pickup saw a total sales increase of 51 percent. The Sierra pickup and Acadia crossover also reported retail increases compared with the prior month.

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