General Motors' U.S. light-vehicle sales plunged 34 percent in the second quarter because of the coronavirus pandemic's impact on demand and slim inventories at dealerships.
GM delivered 492,489 vehicles in the quarter, the automaker said in a statement Wednesday. Volume for each of GM's four brands fell at least 33 percent.
Retail sales fell about 24 percent during the quarter. April was GM's weakest month, when retail sales fell about 35 percent from a year earlier, but as demand began to outpace supply in May and June, retail sales were down about 20 percent during those months, GM said.
GM shut down its plants in the U.S. from mid-March to mid-May to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. Many dealerships around the country also closed or limited hours and services because of the pandemic.
Although sales dipped 5.3 percent for the GMC Sierra and 14 percent for the Chevrolet Silverado, according to the Automotive News Data Center, GM said demand for pickups was resilient.
GM's newest small crossovers — the Chevy Blazer, Chevy Trailblazer and Buick Encore GX — were bright spots in the quarter. Blazer sales jumped 68 percent to 19,726 vehicles. GM sold 6,699 new Trailblazers and 9,256 new Encore GXs.
GM soon will update its full-size SUV portfolio with the redesigned Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade.
Dealership inventories are expected to grow now that most assembly plants have resumed normal operating levels, GM said. The automaker is partnering with logistics and trucking companies to ensure that vehicles are shipped to dealerships quickly.
Brands: Cadillac, down 41%; Chevrolet, down 34%; Buick, down 36%; GMC, down 33%
Notable nameplates: Cadillac Escalade, down 48%; XT4, down 44%; XT5, down 56%; Chevrolet Blazer, up 68%; Bolt EV, down 37%; Camaro, down 46%; Colorado, down 37%; Corvette, down 58%; Equinox, down 41%; Silverado, down 14%; Trax, up 3.1%; Traverse, down 42%; Buick Enclave, down 51%; Encore, down 59%; Envision, down 14%; GMC Sierra, down 5.3%; Acadia, down 46%; Canyon, down 56%; Terrain, down 44%; Yukon, down 47%
Incentives: $6,397 per vehicle, up 3.7% from a year earlier, ALG says
Average transaction price: $43,658, down 0.6% from a year earlier, according to ALG
Inventory: GM declined to provide inventory levels but a spokeswoman said they are "leaner than we would like them to be, which was expected, given the impact of last fall's strike and the COVID-19 shut down this spring. Now that our plants are back up and running, we are quickly refilling the pipeline and devoting a higher proportion of our increasing output to restock our retail channels."
Quote: "GM entered the quarter with very lean inventories and our dealers did a great job meeting customer demand, especially for pickups," said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations. "Now, we are refilling the pipeline by quickly and safely returning production to pre-pandemic levels. Having an appropriate mix of the right vehicles, combined with the benefits of enhanced shopping technologies such as Shop-Click-Drive, positions us for success in the second half of 2020."
Did you know? Most of GM's upcoming output will restock dealerships with capacity made available by lower rental volumes.