DETROIT -- General Motors’ December U.S. sales rose 5.7 percent, as strong demand for pickups and a surge in volume at Cadillac helped push the company’s average transaction price to a record high of $37,000.
GM highlighted its retail sales growth -- up 8 percent both for December and the full year. The company said its U.S. retail market share rose 0.4 percentage points to an estimated 16.3 percent for 2015.GM has intentionally pulled back on rental sales, which fell by 50,000 vehicles, or 11 percent, last year, curbing the company’s overall U.S. sales growth.
The company said it expects to reduce rental deliveries by a larger amount this year as it focuses on boosting resale values and the health of its four brands, Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac.
“In a record year for the industry, GM gained significant retail market share,” Kurt McNeil, GM’s vice president of sales operations, said in a statement.
GM is benefiting from a relatively fresh lineup of pickups and SUVs and a few new crossover entries amid a stretch of cheap gasoline prices. Overall in 2015, its truck sales rose 14 percent while car sales slid 14 percent. GM counts large vans, SUVs and pickups as trucks.
Crossover deliveries shot up 19 percent in 2015, fueled by a 38 percent rise in sales of the Buick Encore subcompact crossover and the seventh straight year of volume growth for the compact Chevy Equinox, GM’s top-selling crossover.
In December, Cadillac’s U.S. sales rose 29 percent to 20,787, propelled by a 44 percent increase for the SRX midsize crossover, the brand’s top seller.
Cadillac is in sell-down mode on the outgoing SRX to make way for its successor, the XT5, a new vehicle that will roll out this spring.
The sales surge pushed Cadillac to a 2.6 percent increase for 2015, surpassing brand chief Johan de Nysschen’s goal of maintaining flat sales as he orchestrates the early phases of a turnaround plan.
GMC’s December sales rose 13 percent, driven by a 17 percent increase for the Sierra full-size pickup, GMC’s highest-volume nameplate. In a hot truck market, GMC was GM’s top performing brand for 2015, with U.S. sales rising 11 percent to 558,697 vehicles, its best performance since 2004, when volume totaled 581,684.
Chevrolet’s December sales edged up 2.1 percent amid an 8.9 percent rise in deliveries of the Silverado full-size pickup, its top seller. Chevy’s sales rose 4.5 percent in 2015 while its retail share rose to an estimated 10.7 percent, up from 10.3 percent the year before. GM called that “the largest increase of any full-line brand.”
Buick eked out a 1.7 percent gain in December but was the only GM brand to post a decrease for 2015, with sales slipping 2.6 percent. Sales of its three sedans -- the Verano, Regal and LaCrosse -- fell between 13 and 27 percent for the year.
GM said its average transaction price in December was a record $37,000, up $1,150 from a year earlier. The full-year ATP was $34,500, up $630 from 2014.
GM said its incentive spending for the year rose to 11.2 percent of the ATP, up 0.3 percentage points from 2014. The industry average was 10.5 percent, up 0.5 percentage points, GM said, citing data from J.D. Power.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story mischaracterized GMC's 2015 performance as being the best since 2005.