General Motors made a splash in the first month of 2010, posting a 30-percent increase in new vehicle sales over what was a painful January 2009. GM managed to sell 146,825 vehicles, all from its four core brands.
Three of those four brands had quite a good January, with Buick, GMC, and Chevrolet posting sales increases of 44, 11, and 36 percent, respectively. Like other luxury brands, Cadillac struggled, posting a slight drop of 0.7 percent.
GM's best results came from its volume brand, Chevrolet, where only trucks models saw a decrease. Although the Silverado dipped 5 percent, Chevy more than made up for it with the Cobalt (up 150 percent to 12,962), the Impala (up 55 percent to 10,939), and the Malibu (up 76.5 percent to 16,439). Even Corvette sales were up 1.4 percent. Chevrolet also got a big boost from its SUVs. The new Equinox jumped that nameplate’s sales by 76 percent to 9513 units, while the Traverse climbed 10 percent to 5724 and the HHR spiked 221 percent to 5462. With Pontiac's volume gone, runner up was GMC in terms of absolute sales, despite the fact that the Acadia was the only model to post a gain (69 percent to 5460). The Sierra, meanwhile, dropped 9 percent to 7271 vehicles, while Yukon and Yukon XL sales both dropped more than 30 percent. Canyon sales, like those of its twin, the Chevrolet Colorado, nosedived more than 40 percent.
Following behind GMC but coming on strong is Buick, which has two popular models to thank for its resurgence. Sales of the Enclave SUV jumped 50 percent to 4075 units, but the real story was the new LaCrosse. Its sales shot up an impressive 185 percent to 4246 vehicles -- most of which were conquest transactions, GM says. Buick’s third model -- the aging Lucerne -- saw sales drop 37 percent.
Every Cadillac model saw a sales decrease in the first month of 2010, including the CTS, which fell 25 percent to 2565 copies (perhaps buyers are waiting for the coupe?). Sales of all three Escalade models also fell -- the standard Escalade model, which fared the best, was down 9 percent from this time last year. Cadillac’s savior, then, was the popular SRX. Sales jumped 264 percent from last year, largely due to the fact that a smaller, all-new model went on sale at the end of August.
Altogether, GM's four departed brands saw their sales collectively plummet 90 percent, to a combined 1727 vehicles. Hummer sales dropped 78 percent, while Saab sales fell 47 percent. Pontiac and Saturn, meanwhile, continue to see their sales freefall as the last remaining cars are liquidated. GM says it has less than 600 new Pontiacs and less than 500 new Saturns left to sell, and that wind-down operations are ahead of schedule.