Moments ago, General Motors reported its October domestic car deliveries number, which at 226,402, was 31K better, or 15.7% higher, than the 195,674 from a year earlier, better than the 7.9% increase expected. Unlike the ISM, GM was quick to point the counterfactual, namely that sales picked up because, you guessed it, confidence returned once the government reopened in the second half of the month. "Chevrolet, Cadillac and Buick-GMC all performed well in the month, and the sales tempo really picked up after the government shutdown ended,” said Kurt McNeil, vice president, U.S. sales operations. Apparently, like houses, Americans just can't buy cars if the government isn't around to hold their hand.
Joking aside, one thing that was not mentioned in the otherwise blemish-free GM sales report, is that the biggest reason for the surge in GM "deliveries" was because the car company once again resorted to that old faithful gimmick: dealer channel stuffing. At 728K units in dealer inventory at month end, or 87 days supply, this was the highest number since March 2013, but far more disturbing, the monthly rate of increase was the highest since GM's emergency as a "new" company from bankruptcy. And just to complete the picture, combining the past two month channel stuffing, we get 99,168 GM cars parked at dealer lots: the biggest two month jump in the restructured company's history.
The full sales breakdown:
Last but not least, it seems that the electric car dream may be alive for Tesla (if only until something cooler and more expensive appears), but is all but dead for GM after a 32% plunge in Chevy Volt deliveries. If only GM could somehow charge 50% more for the car and make it a little more spontaneously combustible, all would be well.