GM's ending of the sales spin-and-grin is a puzzling decision
|Mike Colias covers General Motors for Automotive News.|
DETROIT -- General Motors is selling its spinmeister skills woefully short.
GM said Friday that it no longer will host a regular conference call to discuss U.S. sales results from the previous month.
That's the monthly ritual during which we reporters, along with Wall Street analysts, dutifully dial in to hear why the good numbers from GM's sales report were indeed really good. And why the bad numbers actually were better than you think.
Not all automakers host such spin sessions -- most don't. I'm not sure why, because it works.
If Ford's pickup sales trounced GM's, as they did in December, it's worth knowing that Ford put about 1,200 bucks more on the hood of each truck. GM execs gladly offered up that factoid during Friday's conference call (the last, as it turns out). I wrote about it.
GM's reasoning seems to be that it wants to rise above the fray of the monthly sales report. This is the New GM: The short-term chase for slivers of market share is out. A focus on pricing, residual values and profitability is in.
GM prefers to discuss its results at industry conferences and the like, "with a long-term view and in a very holistic way," spokesman Jim Cain says.
The desire for a longer-range look at sales is understandable. There are a bunch of variables in a given month that can conspire to make a brand look much better, or worse, than it deserves to in the sales report.
Thing is, that's how the score is kept.
We'll keep writing our stories every month. Analysts will keep setting their forecasts.
It's hard to understand why GM execs wouldn't want to keep managing the message.
You can reach Mike Colias at firstname.lastname@example.org.