GM sales up 11%; transaction prices rise, too
DETROIT -- General Motors posted an 11 percent rise in its U.S. May sales, to 245,256 units, while commanding sharply higher prices.
GM's retail sales rose 14 percent while sales to fleet customers rose 3 percent, the company said.
The automaker's average transaction price rose 5 percent, to $33,142 per vehicle, according to TrueCar.com. That was the second-largest price increase among the eight largest automakers in the United States, behind Hyundai-Kia's 9 percent rise.
GM's incentive spending dropped 4 percent, to an average of $2,973 , TrueCar said. GM and Hyundai-Kia were the only major automakers to reduce incentives.
"There has been, I would say, some modestly renewed aggressiveness from some competitors, not just the Japanese," Don Johnson, GM's vice president of U.S. sales operations, said today during a conference call with analysts and reporters.
"We still expect for the industry to maintain some pretty good price discipline. For us, we certainly see our incentive discipline, through matching our production with demand, continuing."
Sales of full-sized pickups led GM's increase. Chevrolet Silverado sales rose 22 percent, helping Chevy to a 10 percent sales gain. The brand's SUVs were in high demand, too, as Tahoe and Suburban sales rose 22 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
Johnson said demand from small business owners helped drive sales of full-sized pickups. GMC Sierra sales rose 23 percent, helping GMC to a 19 percent increase overall.
Buick also posted a 19 percent rise, snapping its skid of seven straight monthly sales declines. Sales of the Enclave crossover jumped 55 percent. A restyled version will arrive in fall as a 2013 model.
Johnson cited the success of a 24-month lease program that offers Buick buyers free maintenance, OnStar and satellite radio as one reason for the strong May sales.
Overall, GM's crossover sales rose 14 percent . Sales of the two vehicles, which share a platform with the Enclave, GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Traverse, were up 32 percent and 37 percent, respectively. Both also get restyled for the 2013 model year.
For the April 25-July 2 time period, GM is offering dealers a stair-step incentive program that will pay dealers escalating bonuses as sales targets are hit. The program covers all Buick nameplates and select Chevrolet models.
"We have not been involved in such objective programs as much as many of our competitors in the past," Johnson said. "If the objectives are set accurately and responsibly, I think it can be a very good motivator."
Cadillac was the only GM brand to post a sales drop. Cadillac's sales fell 15 percent to 9,871 units.
You can reach Mike Colias at firstname.lastname@example.org.