GM surprises Wall Street with sales increase

GM today announced June sales results, highlighted by an 8 percent rise in retail car sales and continued strong performance in crossovers. Despite the significant decline of industry market volume and the limited availability of some of GM’s most popular models, GM dealers in the United States delivered 265,937 vehicles in June, down 8 percent (18.5 percent unadjusted). Truck sales declined 6 percent.

“We’re doing all we can to meet customer demand for our popular crossovers and cars, including increasing overtime or adding Saturday shifts at the plants where we build the Malibu, Aura, G6, Enclave, Outlook, Acadia and our full-size vans," said Mark LaNeve, vice president, GM North America Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing. “Hybrid demand and availability continues to build, and we’re seeing really positive momentum with the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon 2-mode hybrids. While the truck market continues to be impacted by the sudden rise in fuel prices, our offerings from Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac continue to lead their respective segments in fuel economy and that is a decided advantage for those shopping for those vehicles. We expect our market share performance to be very strong compared with April and May."

Chevrolet Malibu total sales were up 95 percent with retail sales up 129 percent, Cobalt sales were up 37 percent total and 27 percent retail, HHR was up 39 percent total and 70 percent retail, Equinox was up 64 percent total and 42 percent retail, while Suburban and Tahoe were both up in total sales – 13 and 1 percent respectively.

Pontiac retail sales were up 14 percent led by G6 up 27 percent, Vibe up 24 percent, G5 and Solstice were up 6 percent compared with June 2007.

The Saturn division had strong sales in June with Sky total sales up 62 percent, Aura up 41 percent and Vue up 40 percent. The Astra had sales of nearly 900 vehicles.

Cadillac had a strong performance with CTS total sales increasing 31 percent and a retail increase of 10 percent compared with the same month a year ago. SRX and STS both had 26 percent total sales increases.

GM’s popular crossover Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook together accounted for more than 8,800 vehicle sales in the month as demand for the vehicles continues to strain available supply.

GM hybrid vehicles continue to gain in popularity in the marketplace with 547 hybrid Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon 2-mode SUVs delivered. There were 295 Chevrolet Malibu, 30 Saturn Aura and 277 Vue hybrids sold in June. For the month, a total of 1,149 hybrid vehicles were delivered, with 4,376 hybrids sold so far this year.

“Make no mistake about this … Asian automakers do not have a monopoly on fuel efficient vehicles. We have a full lineup of vehicles – including five hybrid models — that provide industry-leading value, great fuel economy and the best warranty coverage of any full-line automaker," LaNeve added. “Every month, more and more customers are choosing our brands when shopping for a high value, fuel efficient vehicle."

GM has aggressively managed inventories to low levels. In June, only about 788,000 vehicles were in stock, down about 267,000 vehicles compared with last June. The 72 Hour Sale at the end of June was targeted at the 2008 vehicles left in inventory. Combined full-size pickup and utility inventory is down about 124,000 vehicles compared with June a year ago. The sale helped rebalance inventory to a stronger car mix. There were about 238,000 cars and 550,000 trucks in inventory at the end of June. GM also revised its 2008 industry annual sales forecast to approximately 15.0 million total vehicle SAAR, down from the mid-15 million total vehicle SAAR range estimated earlier this year. The continuing impact of higher fuel prices and lack of robust economic growth led to the revision.

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