DETROIT — Driven by continued strong demand for the company’s lineup of fuel-efficient cars and crossovers, and by improving full-size pickup truck sales, General Motors dealers in the United States reported 214,915 total sales in July, an 8-percent gain compared to July 2010.
Retail sales for GM’s brands rose 6 percent for the month compared to a year ago, and were 1 percent higher than June.
In July, total sales of the Chevrolet Cruze were above 20,000 for the fourth-straight month, delivering 24,648 units. The 32 miles-per-gallon highway-rated GMC Terrain and Chevrolet Equinox compact crossovers saw a combined retail sales increase of 73 percent during the month.
Total sales for GM’s full-size pickups – Chevrolet Silverado and Avalanche, and GMC Sierra, increased 2 percent from June, while retail sales – those to individuals – rose 5 percent compared to last month.
“Sales of our fuel-efficient cars like the Chevrolet Cruze and our crossovers remain strong, and we’re now also seeing the seasonal lift in full-size pickups that we expected,” said Don Johnson, vice president, U.S. Sales Operations.
The U.S. auto sector has faced several significant headwinds in the past several months. Nonetheless, the industry is poised to regain some of its lost momentum in the second half of the year, aided by higher supply and pent-up demand.
“There are people who put off vehicle purchases because of uncertainty about fuel prices, vehicle availability and the economy,” Johnson said. “As these conditions improve in the latter half of this year, many of these buyers will return to the market.”
GM’s 2011 U.S. industry forecast, originally announced in January, remains unchanged at 13 million to 13.5 million units, but the company expects total industry sales to end the year in the low end of this range, Johnson said.
Total sales of GM passenger cars increased 8 percent during July, compared to a year ago. Retail sales for cars rose 9 percent for the month on the continuing strength of the Cruze. The Cruze Eco, which delivers an estimated 42 miles-per-gallon highway, accounted for 19 percent of the model’s retail sales during the month.
The all-new Buick Regal continued to appeal to new consumers, more than doubling retail sales from a year ago. For the month, approximately 33 percent of Regal sales were turbo models. Chevrolet Camaro retail sales rose 7 percent, as demand for the all-new convertible model continued to rise.
Year to date through July, retail sales for GM’s passenger cars are up 37 percent.
Total crossover sales increased 20 percent compared to last July, while retail sales climbed 17 percent. Retail sales of Equinox and Terrain were up 75 percent and 67 percent respectively, while retail sales for the GMC Acadia improved 33 percent.
Year to date through July, retail sales of GM’s crossovers increased 25 percent.
Compared to June, combined sales of Silverado, Avalanche and Sierra sales increased 2 percent, and retail sales rose 5 percent. Silverado retail sales increased 7 percent, compared to June, while Sierra retail sales rose 2 percent compared to last month – the best month of the year for GMC’s full-size pickup.
Total sales of GM’s full-size pickups declined 3 percent versus a year ago.
“The increase in industry sales of full-size pickups is consistent with our forecast, as more truck buyers come back into the market,” Johnson said. “We expect continued modest growth in the segment for the remainder of the year, and are positioned to meet the increase in demand.”
For the year to date through July, total pickup sales of 306,439 units represent a 9-percent increase compared to the same period in 2010. For the year, retail sales for GM’s full-size pickups are up 9 percent. Through July, estimated retail market share for the Silverado, Avalanche and Sierra has grown more than 2.5 percentage points.