GM rides trucks and SUVs to 7% April gain

April sales of the Chevrolet Silverado rose 9 percent, to 42,755 units, beating Ram by about 6,000 units after having been edged by Ram in March for the first time in 15 years.
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DETROIT -- General Motors shook off negative publicity from its recall crisis to post a 7 percent sales gain for April, amid surging demand for pickups and SUVs.

GM delivered 254,076 vehicles in April, as retail sales rose 8 percent and deliveries to fleet buyers increased 5 percent. GM said it expects to have increased retail market share during the month.

Through the first four months of the year, GM sales are essentially flat at 903,713 units. Weaker sales of pickups and SUVs have been the biggest drag on GM's sales, off 5 percent, despite the bounce-back in April.

“Retail demand was steady in April, and truck sales and transaction prices were especially strong,” Kurt McNeil, GM's U.S. vice president of sales operations, said in a statement.

Silverado ahead of Ram

GM last month expects to have clawed back some of the market share it had surrendered in the highly profitable full-sized pickup market.

Sales of the Chevrolet Silverado rose 9 percent, to 42,755 units, beating Ram by about 6,000 units after having been edged by Ram in March for the first time in 15 years. GMC Sierra sales jumped 21 percent, to 17,246.

GM said it gained more than 3 percentage points of market share in the full-sized pickup segment, to 35 percent. Ford said F series sales rose 7 percent; Ram sales increased 17 percent.

GM's SUV sales climbed 22 percent, led by strong demand for its redesigned models, the 2015 Chevy Suburban and Tahoe and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL. Sales of the '15 models -- launched in January as the first redesign of the body-on-frame trucks in eight years -- accounted for about two-thirds of the April SUV sales, a spokesman said.

Drop in incentives

Overall, GM said its incentive spending declined from March, despite the second straight month of a promotional supplier-pricing program.

The company's incentives were equal to 10.2 percent of its average transaction price, according to estimates from J.D. Power and Associates. That was slightly less than the incentive spending rate of Ford, Chrysler and Hyundai and slightly higher than that of Honda, Toyota and Nissan.

GM said its average transaction price in April was more than $2,000 higher than a year earlier, and continued to climb from its record first-quarter average transaction price of $32,794.

Cadillac snapped a four-month slump of declining year-over-year sales with a 5 percent gain, led by a 36 percent jump in deliveries of the 2014 CTS mid-sized sedan, launched in October.

GMC rose 13 percent to its highest April sales since 2007. Buick rose 12 percent, helped by a 48 percent rise in sales of the Encore small crossover. Chevy rose 5 percent.

You can reach Mike Colias at mcolias@crain.com.


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