UPDATE: General Motors (GM) U.S. Auto Sales Fell 1.7% in Oct., Narrower than Expected

November 1, 2016 9:32 AM EDT

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(Updated - November 1, 2016 9:38 AM EDT)

General Motors (NYSE: GM) sold 208,290 vehicles in October to individual or “retail” customers in the U.S., up 3 percent from last year, despite two fewer selling days. Based on initial estimates, GM outperformed the entire U.S. retail industry by a wide margin.

Led by Chevrolet and Buick, GM’s U.S. retail market share rose to its highest October level since 2009. Based on initial estimates, GM’s retail market share jumped 1.6 percentage points in October to 18.1 percent, the largest retail market share gain of any manufacturer. GM has gained retail market share in 16 of the past 19 months.

Chevrolet’s October U.S. retail sales were up 6 percent compared to last year, the brand’s best October since 2004. Buick’s October U.S. retail sales were up 7 percent, the brand’s best October since 2003.

Chevrolet gained 1.4 percentage points of U.S. retail market share in October to 12.3 percent. Chevrolet has gained U.S. retail market share in 9 out of 10 months this year, and remains the industry’s fastest-growing full-line brand. Buick gained 0.2 percentage points of retail market share in October.

In addition, GMC set an all-time October record for the brand’s ATP or Average Transaction Price of $43,988, up more than $1,800 over last October’s performance.

GM’s total U.S. sales in October were 258,626 vehicles, down 1.7 percent from last year. In addition, GM’s daily rental sales were down approximately 8,000 vehicles or about 19 percent in October compared to last year, as planned.

*** The Street was looking for a drop of 6.9 percent.

“GM’s October performance reflects the strength of our retail business and our operating discipline. We gained profitable retail share in October while spending less than the industry average on incentives and commanding the industry’s best average transaction prices for any full-line automaker,” said Kurt McNeil, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales operations. “We will continue our disciplined approach and focus on retail in a strong industry.”

In October, GM’s incentive spending as a percent of ATP was 11.7 percent, below the industry average of 11.8 percent.

GM’s ATPs, which reflect retail transaction prices after sales incentives, were $36,155 in October, more than $4,650 above the industry average and more than $1,000 above last October’s performance.
Through the first ten months of the year, GM retail sales are up 1 percent, compared to last year. GM has gained 0.6 percentage points of retail share during that timeframe, the largest retail share gain of any full-line automaker. Year to date, Chevrolet retail sales are up more than 2 percent and the brand’s retail share has grown 0.5 percentage points to 11.2 percent. Year to date, Buick retail deliveries have grown nearly 4 percent and Buick has gained 0.1 percentage points of retail share.

GM continues to benefit from a strong U.S. economy.

“Key fundamentals like job security, rising personal incomes, low fuel prices and low interest rates continue to provide the environment for a very healthy U.S. auto industry,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, GM’s chief economist. “The U.S. auto industry is well positioned for sales to continue at or near record levels for the foreseeable future.”


October Retail Sales and Business Highlights vs. 2015 (except as noted)

Chevrolet

  • Chevrolet had its best October since 2004 and best year to date sales since 2006
  • Chevrolet cars sales continue to grow faster than the passenger car industry
  • Malibu, Camaro, Corvette, Spark and Volt were up 39 percent, 14 percent, 8 percent, 5 percent and 6 percent, respectively
  • Malibu had its best October since 1980
  • Camaro had its best October since 2009
  • Colorado, Suburban, Tahoe and Trax were up 42 percent, 35 percent, 49 percent and 37 percent, respectively
  • Tahoe and Suburban had their best October since 2007
  • Colorado had its best October since 2004

GMC

  • ATPs growing three times faster than industry pace
  • Acadia, Canyon, Yukon XL and Yukon were up 17 percent, 15 percent, 3 percent and 26 percent, respectively
  • More than 25 percent Denali penetration for the brand
  • Sierra had its highest ATP ever at $46,876
  • Canyon had its best October ever
  • Acadia had its best October ever
  • Yukon had its best October since 2007 and 14th month of year-over-year growth
  • Yukon XL had its best October since 2007

Buick

  • Best October since 2003 and best year to date since 2005
  • LaCrosse was up 13 percent with new model off to a strong start
  • Envision had best month since launch

Cadillac

  • Escalade retail sales up year to date more than 6 percent
  • October ATP was a record $55,058, up more than $2,300 from last October
  • Record year to date ATP of $53,542
  • Year-to-date retail luxury market share in line with 2015 performance

Average Transaction Prices (ATP)/Incentives

  • GM’s ATPs, which reflect retail transaction prices after sales incentives, were $36,155 in October, more than $4,650 above the industry average in October and more than $1,000 above last October
  • GM’s October incentive spending as a percentage of ATP was 11.7 percent, below the industry average of 11.8 percent, but down 1.4 percentage points from last month and well below many other competitors

Fleet and Commercial

  • Commercial fleet up 13 percent vs. September, and up 3 percent, selling day adjusted, YOY
    • Malibu up 95 percent compared to last October
    • Mid-size trucks up 218 percent compared to last October
  • Federal Government sales up 53 percent
  • Rental down 19 percent for October, and 29 percent year to date, according to plan

Industry Sales

  • GM estimates that the seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) for light vehicles in October was approximately 18.0 million units. On a calendar year-to-date basis, GM estimates the light-vehicle SAAR was 17.4 million units


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