DETROIT -- General Motors’ July sales slipped 1.9 percent as surging demand for pickups, SUVs and large crossovers was offset by continued softness in the car market.
GM again touted its growth in retail sales, estimating that sales to individual customers -- up 5 percent, to 236,235 -- pushed its retail market share up to 17.9 percent. That would be the highest level since December 2011.
A year-long pullback in sales to daily rental operators continued to pull down GM’s overall sales tally. The company said it sold 10,160 fewer rental vehicles in July vs. a year earlier, a 42 percent drop. GM executives have said the planned rental reduction is a strategy to improve resale values.
For the year through July, GM’s overall sales are down 4 percent.
“Our retail-focused plan is working,” Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations, said in a statement. “We are growing our retail business while keeping inventories lean, incentive spend disciplined and growing our transaction prices faster than the industry average.”
GM said its average transaction price in July was $34,887, about $1,100 higher than a year earlier.
GM’s big sale on full-size pickups -- the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra -- during the first 10 days of July produced mixed results. Sierra sales jumped 13 percent, to trucks. But Silverado sales slipped 4 percent to 54,116.
Bloomberg reported last month that GM lifted average incentives on the Silverado 76 percent from June, to $7,962, and 147 percent on Sierra, to $9,457, during that sale. Incentives on Ford’s F-150 averaged just $4,457 during that period.
GM said its fleet sales plunged 63 percent from a year earlier, mostly due to the pullback in rental sales. Retail deliveries fell 7 percent, GM said.
Low fuel prices continue to stoke demand for GM’s most profitable products, pickups and big SUVs. Sales of the Chevy Suburban SUV rose 17 percent in July while deliveries of the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL jumped 30 percent combined.
GM’s midsize Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon also had a big month, up 29 percent combined.