GM's November Sales Creep Up Three Percent; Chevrolet and Retail Sales Remain Flat

General Motors sold 186,505 vehicles in November 2012, some 5900 cars more than it did in November of 2011. Although GM bested both Chrysler and Ford in terms of November volume, it only eked out a 3.4-percent year-over-year increase, which trails both of its domestic competitors.

The growth roughly mirrors GM’s year-to-date sales, which are up 3.5 percent versus the first 11 months of 2011. Worryingly, November’s results may have been carried in part by fleet sales: the automaker notes retail volumes were “essentially equal” to last November, but fleet sales grew by 16 percent. On the plus side, average transaction prices did rise $750 year-to-year, and $190 from October 2012.

Cars and light crossovers accounted for 62 percent of GM’s model mix, but large truck sales – especially those of pickups – are falling by the wayside. GM says sales of such models slipped by eight percent, and inventory stands at a 139-day supply. GM says this is because it didn’t want to chase competitors incentives, but with all-new models due to launch early next year, the automaker will need to clear these leftovers out ASAP – and likely with a pile of cash placed on the hood.

As was the case in October, Chevrolet volumes stayed flat, ringing in at 128,867 – some 40 cars shy of its November 2011 totals. GM’s other remaining brands posted mild increases – GMC grew 1.2 percent, Buick grew 22.1 percent, and Cadillac 30.3 percent – year-to-year, but year-to-date volumes aren’t necessarily as rosy. Cadillac’s still down 3.4 percent in the first eleven months of 2012, with every one of its product lines save for the SRX posting losses.

WINNERS

Chevrolet Caprice: The biggest percentage sales growth in November 2012? That honor goes to the police-only Caprice, which saw its year-to-year volumes grow 68.3 percent to 281 units. Month-to-month, however, the Caprice trails its October 2012 volume by some 100 cars.

GMC Terrain: GM’s series of Theta-platform crossovers have been selling well for quite some time, but GMC’s variant saw sales rise 44.3 percent year-to-year in November, totaling out at 8158 units. Retail sales alone for the Terrain grew 28 percent. GMC notes this marks the nameplate’s best November in record, and that the Terrain is on pace to have its best sales year ever. That said, it still trails its Chevrolet twin – the Equinox – in both monthly and CYTD sales figures (16,821 and 199,070, respectively).

GMC Savana: Speaking of an increase in fleet sales, GMC’s ancient Savana full-size van posted a surprising 38.5-percent increase, as volumes increased from 732 units to 1014. It’s not a one-month fluke, either – to date, 2012 Savana volumes total 19,320, a 31-percent improvement over the same timeframe in 2011

Chevrolet Volt: Here’s a point of controversy. Compared to November 2011, Volt sales were up 33.4 percent, ringing in at 1519 units. That said, November 2012’s volume is roughly half that of October 2012. Coincidentally, a promotional zero-percent financing incentive expired at the beginning of November. Is this a sign that a lack of incentives will doom Volt sales? That remains to be seen. It should be noted that through the first 11 months of 2012, Volt volumes amount to 20,828. In contrast, 2011’s total amounts to but 6142 cars.

 

LOSERS

Buick Regal: Once again, the Opel-based Regal posts underwhelming sales figures. Only 1101 units were sold in November, which is roughly half the total sold in November of 2011. This is hardly news: In October, the Regal slid 35.7 percent to just 1466 units. Much like in October, the Regal was again out-sold by both its smaller Verano and larger LaCrosse siblings.

Chevrolet Tahoe: With 5895 sold in November 2012, Chevy’s short-wheelbase, full-size SUV still (barely) falls within the list best-selling GM nameplates by volume – but percentage wise, it’s sliding – and fast. November volumes dropped 29.8 percent to 5895 units. Year to date, the picture isn’t quite as gloomy, although the 60,302 Tahoes sold in the first 11 months of 2012 is about 16 percent less than the 72,097 sold in the same time frame last year.

GMC Canyon: Both of GM’s small pickups – the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon – posted losses in November, but as has long been the case, the GMC variant trails its Chevrolet sibling by a considerable margin. Sales dropped 28.6 percent compared to last November, amounting to only 330 units. In contrast, Chevy sold 1327 Colorados last month. The disparity between the two models makes us wonder if the idea of a next-generation Canyon is such a grand idea.

Cadillac CTS: Once again, Cadillac’s aging CTS posts a sizable loss, sliding 26.4 percent to 2798 units. Interestingly, the new ATS managed to nearly outsell the CTS last month (2152 units), as did the new large XTS sedan (2414). We wouldn’t be surprised if buyers are finding traits they liked in the CTS in either the ATS or XTS, and opting instead for the more modern option.

 

BRING OUT YOUR DEAD

Cadillac STS: Only two STS sedans moved off dealer lots last month, down from the 94 it sold last November. Oddly enough, despite the fact production ended at the end of 2011, this is actually twice the number of leftover STS models sold in October.

Cadillac DTS: The ancient H-body continues to slowly fade into the sunset. Although Buick sold no leftover Lucernes last month (it sold four in October), two Cadillac DTS models found new homes in November. Like the STS, that’s nearly twice what was sold in October. Here’s hoping GM’s scraping the bottom of its supply barrel, as production ended roughly one year ago.

Chevrolet Aveo: Chevy’s subpar, Korean-built subcompact was replaced with the contemporary, Michigan-built Sonic in October 2011. Even so, there are still some leftover Aveos floating in the network, and one rolled off the lot last month.

Source: GM

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