DETROIT — General Motors' U.S. light-vehicle sales rose 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter, as retail sales began to reach pre-pandemic levels and redesigned full-size SUVs hit the market. For the full year, GM's sales fell 12 percent to 2.5 million vehicles.
GM delivered 771,323 vehicles from October through December, the automaker said Tuesday.
It marks GM's strongest fourth quarter on a retail basis since 2007. Retail deliveries increased 12 percent, the automaker said in a statement.
Light-vehicle sales increased for Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC, while Buick sales fell 10 percent.
Chevy more than doubled sales of the midengine Corvette and the Bolt EV compared with the fourth quarter of 2019. Full-size SUV sales also grew more than 30 percent after Chevy launched the redesigned Tahoe and Suburban.
Cadillac posted its best fourth-quarter retail share and retail sales since 2016, driven by launches of the CT4, CT5 and redesigned Escalade, GM said.
GMC increased Canyon and Yukon sales by double digits, and the Sierra, with a 14 percent increase in the quarter, had its best fourth quarter and full year ever.
For 2021, GM said its "especially bullish" about the prospects for its full-size SUVs as dealers continue to get more inventory.
"Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac set the bar high for these products in terms of technology, refinement and utility, and sales are exceeding our expectations," Steve Carlisle, president of GM North America, said in a statement. "We launched them on time despite the pandemic, and the team in Arlington is working around the clock to meet demand. We have quickly recaptured all the short-term gains our competitors made as we transitioned to the all-new models."
Brands: Cadillac, up 5.8%; Chevrolet, up 4.6%; Buick, down 10%; GMC, up 10.4%
Notable nameplates: Cadillac Escalade, up 6.4%; XT4, down 21%; XT5, down 2%; XT6, down 0.2%; Chevrolet Blazer, up 1%; Bolt EV, up 103%; Camaro, down 34%, Colorado, up 8.7%, Equinox, down 14%, Malibu, down 15%; Silverado, up 9.5%; Suburban, up 33%; Tahoe, up 36%; Traverse, up 23%; Trax, down 21%; Buick Enclave, up 22%; Encore, down 78%; Envision, up 1.1%; GMC Acadia, up 9.8%; Canyon, up 38%; Sierra, up 14%; Terrain, down 9.2%; Yukon, up 18%
Incentives: $5,046 per vehicle, down 5.7% from a year earlier, TrueCar says
Average transaction price: $43,855, up 6% from a year earlier, according to TrueCar
Fleet mix: 17% in 2020. Total fleet share increased nearly 2 points in the fourth quarter and for the year. GM said fleet sales continue to recover but remain much lower than retail sales, especially daily rental deliveries.
Inventory: 410,875 vehicles, including in-transit vehicles, down 205,148 vehicles from 2019
Quote: "We look forward to an inflection point for the U.S. economy in spring," said GM Chief Economist Elaine Buckberg. "Widening vaccination rates and warmer weather should enable consumers and businesses to return to a more normal range of activities, lifting the job market, consumer sentiment and auto demand."