GM Sales Dip in December; Jeep Lone FCA Brand in Black

Strong results for Cadillac and GMC were not enough to deliver a gain for GM in the month. Weak sales continue for FCA in the car sector. Both post solid 2015 volumes overall.

David Zoia Editor, Executive Director-Content

January 5, 2016

3 Min Read
Canyon sales nearly doubled in December
Canyon sales nearly doubled in December.

General Motors suffered a 1.8% decline in U.S. light-vehicle sales in December on a daily basis (two more sales days this year than last), as strong performances by the lower-volume Cadillac and GMC brands were offset by drops at Chevrolet and Buick.

The two extra days in the month made the picture look worse than it was, as the automaker saw LV volume hit 290,230, up 5.7% from year-ago’s 274,483, according to WardsAuto data.

Cadillac posted a 19.5% spike in daily sales, with strong showings from its truck lineup and the entry ATS sedan. GMC also landed in positive territory, up 4.9% daily, with its Canyon midsize pickup nearly doubling in volume and solid performances recorded by its Sierra fullsize pickup and Yukon SUV lineup.

All other brands were up slightly in volume, but down on a daily-rate basis, including Chevrolet, which still managed to increase sales for the 10th-straight month. Citing J.D. Power PIN estimates, GM says Chevrolet grew its retail market share 0.4 points in 2015.

“Chevrolet is the hottest retail franchise in the strongest market we have seen in this country,” says Kurt McNeil, GM’s U.S. vice president-Sales Operations.

GM says its overall average transaction prices hit a record $37,000 in December, up $1,150 from year-ago. For the year, its ATPs also reached a new high, at $34,500, up $630 from 2014, the automaker says.

Commercial-fleet sales rose 2% in the month, while government deliveries climbed 8%, GM says. Its daily rental sales dipped 14% for December and 11% for 2015, and the automaker says it expects further cuts in that volume in 2016.

For the year, GM posts a 5.0% jump in sales on volume of 3,082,366 LVs, according to WardsAuto data. Only Buick failed to gain on 2014 sales levels, with GMC notching the biggest increase at 11.3%. The automaker says its retail deliveries rose 8% in 2015.

More of the same in market climate is expected this year, when GM Chief Economist Mustafa Mohatarem predicts “a second consecutive year of record industry sales.

“The single most important pieces are the ongoing gains in employment and the growth in personal income,” Mohatarem says. “When you add in lower energy prices, it’s easy to see why consumer spending is strong.”

FCA sales creeped up 4.9% on a daily basis for the month, according to WardsAuto data. The automaker says the result was its best December in 90 years, as overall light-vehicle volume rose 12.9% to 216,017.

Credit the performance to Jeep, which posted a 31.6% jump in daily deliveries. The brand recorded double-digit increases nearly across the board for the month, with Wrangler’s smaller 3.4% gain the lone exception.

All other brands suffered declines, including the Ram truck marque that had helped carry the ball for the automaker in 2015. Its daily sales fell 2.5%, more than the Dodge brand’s 1.8% decline but marking a better performance than that of Chrysler (27.1%), Fiat (6.6%) and Alfa (21.0%).

Among bigger disappointments in the month were the Chrysler 200, down 50.9%, and the Fiat 500, off 39.5%, but few passenger cars finished in the plus column.

For 2015, FCA records a 7.3% increase on sales of 2,228,421 light vehicles.

“For the second straight year, the company has topped 2 million in U.S. sales. FCA US sales have now grown annually for the past six years,” notes sales chief Reid Bigland.

Kelley Blue Book says overall FCA average transaction prices also were up in December, rising 2.8% from year-ago to $34,619.

FCA wound up the month with an 81-day supply of vehicles in stock, equating to 631,668 units.

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About the Author(s)

David Zoia Editor

Executive Director-Content

Dave writes about autonomous vehicles, electrification and other advanced technology and industry trends.

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