GM’s August Sales Withstand Hurricane Harvey

The Detroit automaker delivered 275,552 light vehicles last month, compared with 256,429 during the same period last year, according to WardsAuto data.

James M. Amend, Senior Editor

September 1, 2017

3 Min Read
Redesigned Chevy Equinox spurs GM sales
Redesigned Chevy Equinox spurs GM sales.

Despite devastating weather in one of the nation’s largest new-vehicle markets, General Motors’ August U.S. daily sales rise 3.5%.

The Detroit automaker delivered 275,552 light vehicles last month, compared with 256,429 during the same period last year, according to WardsAuto data. There was an extra selling day this August vs. year-ago. Trucks were up 12.3% to 206,924 from 177,359, while car sales tracked an industry trend down 16.4% to 68,624 from 79,070.

“We had a very strong month, and grew our retail and commercial-fleet business on the strength of robust crossover sales at all four of our brands,” says Kurt McNeil, vice president-U.S. Sales Operations at GM.

“But our focus is on the unfolding crisis in Texas and what we can do to help our customers, employees, dealers and everyone else impacted by the flooding,” he says in a statement.

Harvey devastated the Houston metropolitan area, the fourth biggest in the U.S., and soaked coastal areas across southeast Texas and into Louisiana. It occurred near the end of the month, too, when daily sales typically are strongest.

GM does not disclose the number of sales it may have lost to the storm, although third-party estimates say about 16,000 units went unsold industry-wide so the automaker probably sacrificed about 2,700 cars and trucks. Automakers historically see a sales bump in the weeks after a storm-wracked region recovers.

GM says it has been aiding the disaster through its OnStar concierge and safety service and crisis-relief donations from its nearby Arlington assembly plant, as well as helping affected owners with loan-payment assistance through its captive finance unit, GM Financial. The automaker directly donated $1 million to the American Red Cross to help recovery and, among other efforts, offers a $1,000 discount toward the purchase of a GM vehicle that can also be used for other retail purposes.

“During this crisis, we have seen remarkable acts of bravery and compassion,” says GM North America President Alan Batey. “People are pulling together and helping total strangers like they’ve been neighbors all their lives. It’s inspiring, and we are there for all of you.”

Outside of the tragedy in Texas, GM enjoyed an otherwise strong end to the summer selling season boosted by demand for its lineup of CUVs. The automaker says it sold 81,444 crossovers in the month on a retail basis, compared with 55,554 year-ago. Sales to rental-car companies also surged in the month by an estimated 7,000 units.

Chevrolet sales grew 7.3% to 196,007 cars and trucks from 175,965, spurred by 54,448 deliveries of the Silverado large pickup. Growing inventories of the redesigned Traverse large CUV and Equinox midsize CUV combined for 39,582 sales, up 29.7% and 78.1%, respectively. The compact Trax CUV drew 8,171 buyers, a 12.5% improvement over year-ago.

Backed by some discounts and fleet deliveries, sales of the Chevy Impala large sedan nearly doubled year-over-year to 9,452 and demand for the Malibu midsize sedan grew 30.9% to 22,725 from 16,723.

GMC sales rose 8.3% to 47,718 trucks from 42,440, led by a 49.9% gain in deliveries of the Acadia large CUV to 9,497 from 6,101. Daily orders for the Sierra large pickup fell 4.9% to 17,254 from 17,478.

Cadillac drew 15,016 buyers last month, a decline of 11.5% from 16,346 year-ago, while Buick deliveries tumbled 25.3% to 16,811 from 21,678.

GM’s year-to-date daily sales are ahead 3.5% to 1.91 million vehicles from 1.96 million, while straight volume is down 2.4%. The automaker says it has 893,056 cars and trucks in stock for an 88 days’ supply, compared with 939,831 and 104 days’ at the close of July.

“Hurricane Harvey did have an adverse effect on deliveries during the last week of August for every automaker, but the key U.S. economic fundamentals remain supportive of strong vehicle sales,” says GM Chief Economist Mustafa Mohatarem. “With the U.S. economy strengthening, we anticipate retail sales will be strong for the foreseeable future.”

GM dealers could see additional showroom activity this month with traditional Labor Day discounts, such as available 0% financing for 72 months and $1,000 cash back on select Chevy models.

[email protected]

About the Author(s)

Subscribe to a WardsAuto newsletter today!
Get the latest automotive news delivered daily or weekly. With 5 newsletters to choose from, each curated by our Editors, you can decide what matters to you most.

You May Also Like