General Motors Sees Q4 Sales Growth, Decrease for Year

Detroit’s General Motors Co. sold 2,547,339 cars and trucks in 2020, which was a drop in total deliveries of 12 percent year-over-year and a decline in retail deliveries of 6 percent.
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2021 GMC Sierra
For the second consecutive year, the GMC Sierra had its best fourth-quarter and full-year retail and total sales. // Photo courtesy of GMC

Detroit’s General Motors Co. sold 2,547,339 cars and trucks in 2020, which was a drop in total deliveries of 12 percent year-over-year and a decline in retail deliveries of 6 percent.

The company sold 771,323 vehicles in the fourth quarter, which reflects an increase of 5 percent year-over-year. The fourth quarter was the company’s best in retail sales since 2007, with deliveries up 12 percent.

Retail sales for the auto industry began to recover from March’s COVID-19-induced shutdown in May and reached pre-pandemic levels during the fourth quarter. For GM, sales to fleets are recovering but remain lower, especially daily rental deliveries. Average transaction prices set fourth-quarter and full-year records at $41,886 and $39,229, respectively.

“Our manufacturing and supply chain teams and dealers helped keep people safe at work and our launches on track,” says Steve Carlisle, executive vice president and president of GM North America. “Extraordinary teamwork has set up everyone to succeed in 2021 as the economy continues to recover and we further ramp up truck and SUV production.”

In 2021, GM expects to have a full year of production of the all-new Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon, and Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban. The company has also announced plans to build full-size pickups in Ontario starting in early 2022. GM’s new full-size SUVs began launching at the company’s Arlington Assembly plant in Texas in April.

“Chevrolet, GMC, and Cadillac set the bar high for these products in terms of technology, refinement, and utility, and sales are exceeding our expectations,” Carlisle says. “We launched them on time despite the pandemic.”

For the second consecutive year, the GMC Sierra had its best fourth-quarter and full-year retail and total sales yet, with deliveries up 14 percent in the quarter and 9 percent for the year.

Fourth-quarter GMC retail deliveries were up 14 percent, with five models up by double digits: the Yukon and Yukon XL (up 41 percent), Canyon (up 42 percent), Sierra (up 14 percent), and Acadia (up 26 percent).

Retail deliveries were up 12 percent for Chevrolet in the fourth quarter, driven by the Corvette (up 158 percent), Bolt EV (up 106 percent), Tahoe (up 78 percent), Suburban (up 56 percent), Traverse (up 31 percent), Colorado (up 21 percent), Silverado (up 15 percent), and Malibu (up 11 percent).

Retail deliveries for Cadillac were up 16 percent in the quarter, driven by the launches of the new CT4, CT5, and Escalade, which was up 19 percent. The Cadillac XT5 was up 10 percent.

Fourth-quarter retail deliveries of the Buick Enclave were up 21 percent, and the all-new Buick Encore GX is now the brand’s best-selling nameplate.

Sales to small businesses were up 27 percent in the fourth quarter and up 5 percent for the full year.

“We look forward to an inflection point for the U.S. economy in spring,” says Elaine Buckberg, chief economist at GM. “Widening vaccination rates and warmer weather should enable consumers and businesses to return to a more normal range of activities, lifting the job market, consumer sentiment, and auto demand.”

GM ended 2020 with inventory of 410,875 units, including in-transit units, down 205,148 units year-over-year.

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