March capped a successful quarter for General Motors in the United States. Retail sales surged 38 percent for its four brands, driven by demand for Chevrolet’s all-new Cruze compact sedan. In spite of a decline in incentives, dealers reported 206,621 total sales during March, an increase of 11 percent. This total included a 17 percent increase in retail sales, compared to March 2010.
March’s retail sales increase was spurred by a 34-percent rise in passenger car retail sales, led by a 287 percent gain in retail sales of the Cruze over the car it replaced.
March deliveries to fleets declined 1 percent and represented 27 percent of the company’s total sales – the ninth straight month that fleet sales comprised less than 30 percent of total sales.
For the first three months, total sales increased 26 percent to 592,545 units compared to a year earlier. As a result, each of GM’s brands – Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac – gained retail and total market share during the quarter.
“Our plan was to get out of the gates quickly in the first quarter and we succeeded,” said Don Johnson, vice president, U.S. Sales Operations. “Consumers responded favorably to the value of our broad lineup of fuel-efficient cars, trucks and crossovers.”
In the first quarter, fleet sales represented 24 percent of the company’s total sales volume, compared to 30 percent in the first quarter of 2010.
GM’s Newest Vehicles Continue to Drive Retail Gains – up 54 Percent in March
Combined retail sales for vehicles launched since June 2009 – Chevrolet Equinox, Silverado HD, Cruze and Volt; Buick LaCrosse and Regal; GMC Sierra HD and Terrain; and Cadillac SRX, CTS Wagon and CTS Coupe – increased 54 percent during March and were up 74 percent for the first three months of the year.
“March sales demonstrated our newest models continue to win over customers,” Johnson said. “Vehicles like the Chevrolet Cruze and Equinox put us in great position to benefit from consumer’s increasing desire for fuel-efficient vehicles.”
Total sales of GM passenger cars improved 15 percent during March, led by the sale of 18,018 Cruzes. Retail sales of GM passenger cars rose 34 percent for the month. The Cruze, Chevrolet Camaro Convertible and Buick Regal all have achieved record retail sales since being launched. For the quarter, retail sales of GM’s passenger cars were up 49 percent, also led by the Cruze, up 203 percent.
The Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac brands each set March total and retail sales records for crossover sales during the month, driven by a 20 percent increase in combined retail sales by the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain. The two also set March records for retail sales. For the quarter, retail sales of GM’s complete lineup of industry-leading crossovers were up 30 percent.
Total combined sales of Chevrolet Silverado and Avalanche, and GMC Sierra increased 11 percent in March, with retail sales also rising 11 percent versus a year ago. For the quarter, retail sales for GM’s full-size pickups rose 38 percent, while total sales improved to 130,866 units – a 31-percent increase.
During March, purchase incentives declined on a per unit basis.
“We’ve said all along that our plan for the year was to be at or near industry average on incentives as a percent of average transaction prices, as we were last year,” Johnson said. “Our actions in March were consistent with that plan and we will continue to be prudent in our go-to-market approach.”
Month-end dealer inventory in the United States stood at about 574,000 units, which is about 57,000 higher compared to February and about 149,000 higher than March 2010.
Brand Key Facts:
- Chevrolet: Chevrolet dealers delivered 148,197 total vehicles in March, an 11-percent increase versus last year. Retail sales for Chevrolet were up 18 percent. Cruze retail sales were 287 percent higher than the compact car it replaced. Silverado retail sales rose 10 percent, while Equinox retail sales increased 18 percent .
- Buick: Buick reported 15,663 total sales, a 21-percent increase compared to March 2010. This includes a 24-percent rise in year-over-year retail sales, led by improving demand for the all-new Regal. This marks the 18th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains for the brand.
- GMC: GMC reported total sales of 30,597, an 11-percent increase compared to the same month last year. This marks the 18th consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases. Retail sales were 11 percent higher than last year, driven by continued strong retail demand for the Terrain (up 26 percent) and Sierra (up 15 percent)
- Cadillac: Cadillac reported total sales of 12,164 for March – 5 percent higher than last March, with retail sales increasing 14 percent. February was the 14th consecutive month of year-over-year total and retail sales gains. CTS retail sales continued to set the pace for the brand, rising 51 percent, driven by strong demand for the all-new CTS Coupe
- Fleet sales for GM’s four brands were 56,465 for the month, a 1-percent decrease for the month, with sales to rental fleets down 11 percent during the same period. Sales to commercial customers rose 1 percent for the month, the 12th consecutive month of commercial fleet sales gains. Fleet accounted for 27 percent of GM total sales during the month.