With a strong August on the books, General Motors predicts the industry will deliver more than 16 million vehicles by year’s end, up from previous predictions hovering near 15.8 million.
GM also is looking forward to a sell-down of several aging models as it introduces a new slate of new or refreshed ’14 vehicles, chief among them the Chevrolet and GMC fullsize pickups arriving in dealers soon.
The auto maker delivered 275,847 vehicles in August, up 10.6% from like-2012 on a daily-rate basis (one more sales day this year than last). Through the year’s first eight months, GM has notched sales of 1,930,264 units, WardsAuto data shows.
“I think it’s here to stay,” Mustafa Mohatarem, GM’s chief economist, says of the market’s faster-than-expected momentum that has the auto maker revising its 2013 industry forecast. “We were expecting to hit (the current market pace) in the fourth quarter.
“Keep in mind the job stability,” he adds. “People are becoming much more secure in their jobs.”
A strategy to keep ’13 editions of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups in stores until ’14 models arrive continues to hold steady, as GM delivered 43,603 of the former and 18,017 of the latter last month – posting a combined gain from August 2012.
However, sales of the Chevy Cruze compact sedan fell 11.2% from year-ago, to 23,909 units. Chevrolet’s other compacts all posted strong results, with the Sonic up 25.8%, Spark sales jumping 66.2% and Volt increasing 14.1%.
Overall, the Chevrolet brand delivered 187,440 units in August, up 17.1% from like-2012.
GM’s incentive spending was down slightly from July, but in step with other auto makers, Kurt McNeil, vice president-sales operations, says on a conference call to discuss results. But an uptick in dealer traffic during the Labor Day holiday helped push sales forward, he adds.
GM insiders say the Cadillac brand delivered its best August since 1989. Total sales, led by the SRX cross/utility vehicle (7,211) and near-equal results from the ATS (3,380), CTS (3,980) and XTS (3,533) sedans, reached 20,255 units for the month.
Buick notched its best August since 2003, with deliveries reaching 24,650. The Regal sedan slipped 32.1% from like-2012 on just 1,460 units, but the newly released Encore compact CUV balanced the load with 4,296.
Low inventories curtailed some sales of the GMC Acadia CUV, McNeil says, but the brand overall delivered 43,202 units.
For the first eight months, GM light-vehicle sales were running 9.8% ahead of year-ago.