DETROIT — Scheduled downtime at General Motors' SUV plant in Texas and a slowing retail market are keeping the automaker's monthly sales in the red.
GM's U.S. light-duty vehicle sales last month declined 8.3 percent compared with March 2018 to less than 272,000 units, according to estimates from the Automotive News Data Center.
The March decline marks the automaker's fourth-consecutive drop since an estimated 1.4 percent uptick in November 2018.
GM, which switched to quarterly reporting last year, on Tuesday reported sales for the first three months of the year declined 7% compared with 2018.
The automaker reported more than 80% of its sales for the quarter were pickups, SUVs and crossovers. Car sales plunged 21% in the quarter, while crossovers increased 2.5 percent and combined pickup/SUV/van sales dropped 8.8%.
For March and the entire quarter, each of GM's brands posted losses.
GM previously forecast that the first half of the year — particularly the first quarter — was going to be challenging.
The automaker, according to CFO Dhivya Suryadevara, expected a 25,000-unit loss in full-size SUV production — primarily in the first quarter — due to downtime at its Arlington Assembly plant for retooling for the next generations of the vehicles in 2020.
Each of the company's large SUV nameplates, which are produced at the plant, experienced declines in the first quarter, including double-digit losses for the Chevrolet Tahoe (12 percent) and Suburban (25 percent) and Cadillac Escalade, including ESV (16 percent). The GMC Yukon, including Yukon XL, dropped 0.4 percent.