DETROIT -- General Motors posted its largest year-over-year U.S. sales increase of 2016, as all four brands achieved retail gains but fleet deliveries rose for the first time in more than a year.
GM sales jumped 10 percent overall from November 2015, with retail up 7.9 percent and fleet up 19 percent. The automaker said sales to car-rental companies last month were 27 percent higher than a year ago, but they’re down more than 95,000 units -- 25 percent -- year to date.
GM’s first year-over-year fleet increase since October 2015 came in a month when fleet deliveries fell 9 percent for Ford Motor Co. and 42 percent for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
“The strategy hasn’t changed,” GM spokesman Dan Flores said. “We’ve always said daily rental is not bad in itself. Too much is bad. That spike on November is just based in timing on fulfilling a contract.”
Flores said GM’s fleet sales might increase in December as well. The automaker has previously said it was targeting a 75,000-unit decline in sales to daily-rental companies in 2016, so it has already exceeded that goal as it works to boost profit margins and the residual values of its vehicles.
GM said preliminary data indicates that its retail market share grew 0.3 percentage points to 16.8, marking its 17th retail share gain in the past 20 months.
“GM’s November performance reflects the continued strength of our U.S. business,” Kurt McNeil, GM’s vice president of U.S. sales operations, said in a statement.
“We gained profitable retail share, commercial and small business deliveries were strong and we commanded the industry’s best average transaction prices. We are ahead of plan selling down our 2016 model year inventory and we expect to close out December with more retail share growth. GM is heading into 2017 in a position of strength with the planned launch of key new products, like the all-new Chevrolet Equinox, into the heart of the market.”
On a retail basis, GM said last month was the best November for Chevrolet since 2004, for Buick since 2003 and for GMC since 2001.
Chevy, which accounted for the vast majority of the fleet increase, was the only GM brand that didn’t manage a double-digit gain in overall sales last month. Chevy sales rose 8.1 percent, including a 72 percent jump for the Malibu sedan and 39 percent gain for the Colorado pickup. Sales of the larger Silverado pickup rose less than 1 percent.
GMC sales rose 14 percent, with all nameplates except the Terrain posting double-digit gains. Sales of the Canyon and the short-wheelbase Yukon each surged more than 50 percent.
At Buick, fleet deliveries declined 34 percent, while retail sales increased 22 percent. Cadillac sales rose 17 percent on a retail basis and 14 percent overall, its largest gain of the year. GM said Cadillac’s average transaction price rose to $53,690, the brand’s highest level ever.
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