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GM struggles in February 2012 but shows growth

February 2012 was a tough month for General Motors, with the largest of the American automakers ranking last in terms year over year growth but the good news was that with an improvement of 1.1%, the company still showed a positive growth in what proved to be a fairly bad month.


While General Motors showed a growth of 1.1% in February 2012 sales, two of their four brands showed negative growth last month with just GMC and Chevrolet heading in the right direction. Luckily, based on the sheer volume of cars sold by Chevy relative to the other three brands under the GM halo, the company was able to post that positive gain but that didn’t prevent GM from being ranked last among major manufacturers in February – with only Mitsubishi (-31.29) being below General Motors. However, even when it is only a small positive growth; it is better than negative company growth.

Chevrolet was the top brand from General Motors in terms of both sales volume and year over year growth in February 2012, with 151,197 vehicles sold accounting for a gain of 5.8% over last February. Chevrolet was led in growth by the Chevy Volt, which moved 1,023 for an impressive improvement of 264.1% over last year while also helping the Volt to lead the electric vehicle segment in February. The full sized Chevy Suburban sport utility vehicle was second in growth with a jump of 38.6% while the compact Colorado pickup was third with an increase of 35.5%. The Chevrolet Silverado pickup family was the top model in terms of sales for both Chevy and General Motors, with 32,297 trucks sold (+1.8%). The Chevy Cruze was second in sales volume with 20,427 compact sedans sold and the midsized Malibu sedan was third with 19,987 units sold. It should be noted that while the Chevy Sonic and the Chevy Aveo are listed as two different models, the Sonic is the replacement for the Aveo and it is doing a very good job of filling the Aveo’s tiny shoes. Chevy sold just 2,760 Aveo models last February and in comparison, the Sonic moved 7,900 units last month. This difference of almost 190% is a good sign that GM made the right moves in transforming the underachieving Aveo into the sporty little Sonic.

The GMC brand was second in terms of sales growth with an increase of 0.1% in February 2012. Remarkably, the full sized Savana van led GMC in terms of growth with a jump of 215.9% in February with the compact Canyon pickup ranking second with a 39.1% increase and the Terrain was third at 12.5%. In terms of sales volume, the GMC Sierra pickup family ranked first with 11,306 trucks sold (down 3.3%) while the Terrain was second with 8,086 small SUVs sold and the Acadia was third with 6,630 large SUVs sold.

Buick was next in line for GM but unfortunately, the affordable luxury brand from the General showed a negative growth of 11.3% in February 2012. The only vehicle in the Buick lineup to show a positive growth last month was the LaCrosse sedan, which also led the brand in sales with 5,228 units sold accounting for an improvement of 20.8%. The full sized Buick Enclave SUV was second in sales with 4,167 units sold (down 19.8%) and the Regal was third with 2,636 (down28.9%). The good news for Buick is that their compact Verano sedan is continuing to arrive in dealerships around the country, with 1,688 examples of the classy compact sold last month.

February 2012 was the hardest on Cadillac, with every vehicle in the luxury lineup showing a negative growth last month. Realistically, it wasn’t as bad as it looks on paper considering that the DTS and STS have been removed from the lineup but things were even tough for the brand’s bestselling models. The SRX and CTS have been Caddy’s top models for some time and that continued last month with the SRX moving 4,983 units and the CTS sending out 4,570 new sedans, coupes and sport wagons but those models still showed declines in sales from last year of 9.4% and 24.2%, respectively. The original Escalade SUV was third in sales with 1,011 units sold – a 21% drop from last year. The good news for the Cadillac brand is that the new ATS compact sedan and the flagship XTS premium full sized sedan should be hitting the scene soon and when they do, the GM luxury brand can expect to see their numbers grow.