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Mayank Marwah
Mayank Marwah
Articles (1028) 

General Motors Records 4th-Quarter Sales Growth

With the exception of Buick, all major brands recorded sales growth

January 06, 2021 | About:

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) released its fourth-quarter sales report on Jan. 5. Quarterly sales surged despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Sales were up for all of the company's major brands, barring Buick.

Performance at a glance

The Detroit-based automaker delivered 771,323 vehicles in the fourth quarter, up 5% year over year.

Although General Motors issued its fourth-quarter report, it lacked key information like retail and fleet delivery numbers. However, the company mentioned that retail sales have returned to pre-Covid levels. As for fleet, sales are in the recovery stage.

In a statement, Executive Vice President and President GM North America Steve Carlisle said:

"GM outperformed the industry in the quarter and the full year by a significant margin because our manufacturing and supply chain teams and dealers helped keep people safe at work and our launches on track. Extraordinary teamwork has set up everyone to succeed in 2021 as the economy continues to recover and we further ramp up truck and SUV production."

How did the brands fare?

Cadillac witnessed 6% sales growth to 42,909 vehicles. Cadillac CT5 sales skyrocketed 11,845% to 5,135 units. By contrast, sales of the division's top-selling XT5 sport utility were disappointing at 10,950 units, down roughly 2% on a year-over-year basis. XTS sales also dipped 79.29% to 220 units.

The Chevrolet brand saw sales rise 4.6% to 522,136 units. The company attributed the overall growth to a 9.86% increase in sales of Silverado Pickups to 179,444 units. Meanwhile, Equinox sales dipped approximately 14% to 79,267 units and Chevrolet Trax sales plunged 21% to 26,106 units. However, these headwinds had a negligible impact on the division's overall quarterly growth.

GMC sales totalled 162,090 units, up 10.4%. A 9.79% growth in sales of Acadia (21,378 units sold) and a 38% growth in sales of Canyon (9,007 units sold) contributed to the brand's quarterly growth.

Buick's sales plunged 10% to 44,188 units. Encore, the brand's top-selling vehicle, recorded a sales decline of 77.8% to 6,338 units. Sales decreased roughly 97% for LaCrosse and 96.1% for Regal.

Year in review and what's ahead

General Motors sold 2.55 million vehicles in the U.S. in 2020, down 12% as compared to 2019. Most of the U.S. plants, including the truck and SUV plants, were non-operational for part of the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to fall in production volume. This year marked the lowest volume sold since 2011. While fleet sales were down 33% during the year, retail sales tumbled 6%.

Heading into 2021, General Motors expects auto sales to rebound as businesses ramp back up and consumers return to their routine activities. Elaine Buckberg, the company's chief economist, commented:

"We look forward to an inflection point for the U.S. economy in spring. Widening vaccination rates and warmer weather should enable consumers and businesses to return to a more normal range of activities, lifting the job market, consumer sentiment and auto demand."

General Motors did not issue sales guidance for 2021.

Disclosure: I do not hold any positions in the stocks mentioned.

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About the author:

Mayank Marwah
A seasoned writer with keen interest in the automotive, technology, telecommunication, retail and aerospace sectors.

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