General Motors’ daily sales rose 3.1% in August, as a swell of demand for its pickups and CUVs offset a weak month for rental-fleet deliveries and one fewer selling day in the month tilted year-over-year comparisons in the automaker’s favor.
GM sold 270,480 cars, trucks and CUVs last month, compared with 272,423 in the same period last year, according to WardsAuto data. Last month contained 26 selling days compared with 27 in like-2014.
Kurt McNeil, vice president-U.S. Sales Operations, says retail sales were especially strong and August marked a fifth consecutive month of retail market-share gains for the automaker. Its overall market share for the month is estimated at 17.6 vs. 17.3% year-ago, and so far this year GM has 17.8% of the U.S. market.
“We will continue this momentum with the redesigned Chevrolet Cruze and Malibu, the launch of diesel engines for our midsize pickups, a dramatic restyling of the Chevrolet Silverado and the aggressive rollout of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto,” McNeil says in a statement.
The Silverado large pickup posted a strong month in its current skin, which is less than two years removed from a full redesign, with sales up 16.0% to 54,977 from 49,201. The smaller Colorado midsize pickup, an all-new product in the market for less than one year, contributed 7,114 deliveries.
On the CUV side, sales of the Chevy Traverse 7- and 8-passenger people mover grew 3.0% although volume fell marginally to 10,072 from 10,153. Sales of the Equinox 5-passenger CUV rallied 22.4% to 25,211 from 21,387.
However, the Chevy Cruze compact car, awaiting arrival of an all-new model later this year, saw sales tumble 35% to 14,661 from 23,435. The decline in rental deliveries also pulled Cruze sales down in the month. Sales of the Malibu midsize sedan increased 11.5% to 17,553 from 16,346, while deliveries of the Impala large sedan edged up 4.7% to 9,880 from 9,802.
Chevy’s overall sales in the month rose 2.3%, but volume was down to 183,098 from 185,930.
GMC sales gained 7.5% to 49,363 from 47,700 year-ago on the strength of the Sierra large pickup, which witnessed an uptick of 11.1% to 21,241 from 19,847.
Buick sales expanded 4.5% to 22,281 from 22,143, led by a 32.3% surge from the Enclave large CUV on volume of 7,389 units. The tinier Encore CUV, a new entry for the brand, was at its heels with a robust 6,286 deliveries.
Cadillac sales fell 1.8% and without the favorable year-over-year daily sales rate would have posted an even weaker showing on volume of 15,738, compared with 16,650 in the year-ago period. The SRX 5-passenger CUV was the lone bright spot, as sales jumped 57.7% to 6,903 from 4,545.
GM’s profitable large SUVs, which include the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL and the Cadillac Escalade combined for 22,468 sales, down 8.6% from year-ago’s 25,532. GM says it is prioritizing retail sales over fleet for the big SUV’s due to inventory constraints, but remains bullish on the segment as signs point to continued low gasoline prices.
Sales of the automaker’s trucks were up 17.3% last month, while car sales slipped 21.8%.
GM finished the month with an inventory of 655,776 vehicles, down from 665,663 in the same period last year and good for a 63-days’ supply.
So far this year, GM sales are ahead 3.2% to 2.05 million units from 1.98 million year-ago.
McNeil says a seasonally adjusted annual selling rate of 17.5 million units in August, a fourth straight month above the 17 million mark, bodes well for the remainder of the year.
“All of the economic fundamentals that we look at, including job growth, disposable income and fuel prices, are in good shape and that should keep sales strong,” McNeil said.