GM’s sales go up 5.9% in April 2015 buoyed up by crossover demand

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 5, 2015

General Motors posted a 5.9% increase in sales for April 2015. Its car lines still performed weakly but this was offset by a fast-rising demand for crossovers. The brand’s retail sales increased by 5.3%. Meanwhile, fleet deliveries grew by 7.6%, for a total of 269,056 vehicles. GM’s commercial sales (also known as deliveries to business customers) are at their highest level since March 2008.

The automaker recorded a 25% increase in crossover sales, pushed up by a 42% increase in sales of the Chevrolet Equinox to 28,856 units as well as the 41% climb of the Cadillac SRX sales with 6,390 units sold. GM’s crossover deliveries, including the new Chevrolet City Express van, grew to a total of 78,354 units in April – its highest ever in just one month.

Its truck sales continued to be strong with a 13% increase in the sales of its pickups, SUVs and fullsize vans as gasoline prices remained low. GM posted a combined 7% increase in sales of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups. A total of 9,442 units of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon were sold – the highest that they’ve ever been since the launch of the midsize pickups last fall.

GM’s car sales declined by 12% -- an improvement over the 21% drops seen in February and March. According to J.D. Power, GM’s average transaction price was at $34,750 – an increase from the $880 recorded a year ago. Its average transaction price had increased to $1,580 through the first four months compared to the same period the previous year.

In April, its incentive spending was equivalent to 9.5% of average transaction prices, which was in line with March and lower by 0.6 percentage point from last April. GM pointed out that the industry had an average of 9.2%. GMC benefited the most from the market’s preference for trucks and crossovers, with a 20% rise in sales last April and 16% for the year.

From January to April 2015, GM made up around 50% of GM's sales growth even if it accounted for only 18% of GM’s overall deliveries. On the other hand, Buick was adversely affected by the movement away from cars, with a 5.2% drop in volume last April and a 4.7% decline for the year. The only nameplate to have a sales increase was the Encore small crossover with a 29% increase.

Meanwhile, double-digit decreases were recorded by Buick’s three car lines, namely: the LaCrosse, Regal and Verano sedans. Chevrolet deliveries, which made up 70% of GM’s volume the past month, increased by 3.4%, boosted by a 51% surge in crossover sales. More Equinox units were sold because the Captiva Sport (a fleet-specific unit) was removed last year.

The Trax small crossover, which made its debut in late 2014, sold 3,451 units. Cadillac sales had grown 14% -- the first double-digit increase it has had in 18 months.

Meanwhile, Escalade SUV sales increased more than two times, with 3,237 units sold in combined short and long wheelbase models. However, the volume sedans of this brand still didn’t do so well. ATS sales fell by 23% while CTS sales decreased by 47%.

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