GM sales rise 5% on cars, pickups
DETROIT -- General Motors' U.S. October sales rose 5 percent to 195,764 vehicles, as healthy retail sales helped offset slower demand from GM's fleet customers.
GM's sales gain trailed the industry's 7 percent growth.
GM executives said that this week's storm in the Northeast affected sales but added that they couldn't quantify the effect. Half of GM's 80 dealerships in New Jersey, for example, lost power and have been closed since Monday.
Retail sales rose 7 percent, while fleet deliveries dropped 2 percent. Kurt McNeil, GM's vice president of sales operations, said some fleet customers have hinted that they're "waiting out this period of political uncertainty before they return to the market."
Pickup prices strong
Demand for cars across GM's four brands and an uptick in sales of its aging full-sized pickups were the highlights. Car sales rose 15 percent from a year earlier while pickup sales increased 8 percent.
McNeil said the growth in sales of Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras came despite modest incentives on the pickups, which he said were the lowest in the segment. He said the pickups average transaction prices were more than $2,500 higher than they had been a year earlier.
"Given the age of our trucks, we feel pretty good about that," he said. GM is expected to launch redesigned pickups by next summer as 2014 models.
Overall, incentive spending equaled 9 percent of GM's average transaction prices, which McNeil said was in line with a year earlier and "lower than many of our key competitors."
Truck sales declined 2 percent overall, as most of GM's full sized SUVs -- the Chevy Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade -- declined between 23 percent and 30 percent.
GM's mainstay Chevrolet brand had the weakest quarter with 3 percent growth. Strong sales of cars such as the Cruze, Sonic and Volt were partially offset by weaker demand for the Impala and Camaro.
Buick and Cadillac each posted a 15 percent sales gain. Cadillac is benefiting from two new nameplates launched in summer: the ATS compact and XTS large sedan. McNeil said that half of ATS buyers are new to GM and that the car is selling well on both coasts.
GMC sales rose 6 percent on increased deliveries of the Sierra and the Terrain and Acadia crossovers.
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