Why Can't GM Sell Cars?
GM is proud to announce that the company picked up a percentage point of market share in the U.S. retail market in August. Truck and crossover sales are robust at GM. Sierra and Silverado are up about 9% this month, capping a solid 16-month run of gains. The new Colorado and Canyon together sold 10K trucks in August, the most the factory can produce. Crossovers are way up. The other side of the story is that GM’s car sales are absolutely horrible.
Cadillac, in particular, does not have a single car model selling well right now. The ATS and CTS sports sedans that every automotive reviewer drools over and writes love letters about (this writer included) are down dramatically. CTS is down by fully one-third compared to last August. ATS sedans and coupes only sold a total of 2,449 vehicles in August. The excuse nobody is buying cars due to gas prices is not valid. Acura sold twice as many mid-size TLX sports sedans in August as it did last August (4,353). Infinity's Q50 was up by 45% (3,839). Caddy’s big XTS was down by half compared to last August. GM’s other premium brand, Buick, has nothing to brag about either. Verano was down by half, Regal down by 23%, Lacrosse, up 1.2%.
It is not just premium and luxury GM cars that are selling poorly. The Camaro is down 23%, but can use the excuse that it is in transition to the new 2016 model. GM’s compact Cruze is down 37%, four times the decline the Nissan Sentra has seen. Volt was down 45% for the month. The Malibu was up a respectable 7.4% but still sells at less than half the volume of the sales leaders in its class (Accord and Camry).
Truck sales and crossover sales are without a doubt being helped by low gas prices. GM is well positioned to capitalize on that. However, GM’s car sales seem to be moving out of pace with the industry.