In numbers that are massive for the auto industry, where comps are generally measured in basis points, General Motors saw a 10% plunge in deliveries for Q3 2020.
The company delivered 665,192 vehicles during the quarter, despite sales improving sequentially during each month within the quarter. September foreshadowed slightly less pain for Q4, with YOY sales increases toward the end of the month, the company said while doing damage control in its PR.
Kurt McNeil, GM vice president, U.S. Sales Operations said: “Our dealers are doing exceptionally well utilizing a combination of customer-facing online technologies – such as Shop. Click. Drive. – and showroom sales to deliver vehicles safely to our customers. This is contributing to retail share gains while we continue to refill the pipeline.”
He continued: “Industry-wide, dealers are selling a high mix of large pickups as the summer comes to an end. Our strong large pickup and all-new full-size SUV lineups from Chevrolet and GMC are selling extremely fast.”
But that didn't stop Fiat's Dodge Ram from outselling GM's Chevy Silverado line. Despite Ram deliveries slipping 3.4% YOY to 156,157 units, Chevy's Silverado fell 5.4% to 145,525 units. The Silverado still has the edge in total number of vehicles sold for the year, but Q4 could see that lead upended.
"GM’s large pickup trucks sold well," their press release says, before calling the rebound in retail auto sales "resilient" heading into the fourth quarter. “Super low auto loan interest rates have boosted retail auto sales; yet more strength comes from pandemic-induced demand,” GM economist Elaine Buckberg said.
In other words: the Fed saved our ass and the party goes on.
GM says the momentum behind the business now is due to:
- Consumers seeing private vehicles as a safe space for both local and long-distance trips
- Households using the money they saved from not taking vacations on buying vehicles
- City residents buying vehicles, likely in an effort to get away from not just Covid, but the civil unrest across the country
- The sharp rebound in housing permits is a positive signal for overall auto demand
- Higher home construction activity and strong demand for boats and RVs are particularly favorable for heavy-duty pickups
But given the poor comps and the company's embarrassing involvement with Nikola, it just doesn't seem like the GM of decades ago. Under Mary Barra, it's tough to see GM as the American powerhouse it once was.
Co-op’d at GM. Once a dominant bastion of technology, educated/skilled workers and employer of gargantuan number of Americans via suppliers, research funding, science, machine tools, engineering, materials, supply chains, etc. 10+ million US jobs. How the mighty have fallen.— B (@123MathMan) October 1, 2020