Breaking! GM Sales Drop 9.6%, Lower Than Everyone But GM Expected

Paul Ballew, GM's sales stud, gave us a sales call quote of "Despite the top-line loss of around 9.5%, we're pretty pleased with the result..." — despite that cherry-sounding verbiage, the tone seemed more like one's got to think the General's probably really not too pleased with that big number drop. We're thinking the world's biggest automaker was hoping for more of a December to Remember on the positive side in the US market. But despite some pretty much terrible numbers from every single type of truck they make — they're pleased that hey, they still beat the crap out of FoMoCo. Because you know, beating the crap outta someone already down on their luck is generally considered the best way to boost yourself up. But yeah, there were a couple of positive numbers, and almost all of them came from Cadillac, but even a selling day adjusted 2.2% increase doesn't mean a whole lot when you're facing a 30,000+ unit drop in a unit like Chevy. But whatevs — full press release below the jump — we're going to keep listening to the altogether non-positive tones of Paul.

FOR RELEASE: 2007-01-03

GM Reports 341,327 Deliveries in December


December Exceeded Expectations, Led By Strong Full-Size Truck and Utility Sales
2006 Turnaround Plan Retail Sales Objective Achieved
Residual Values and Transaction Prices Up
Incentive Discipline Continues - Annual Incentive Spend Down $700 Per Vehicle

DETROIT - GM dealers in the United States delivered 341,327 vehicles in December, an increase of 10 percent (43,771) compared with November, but a reduction of 9.6 percent on a sales-day adjusted basis compared with a strong year-ago December. GM's total annual U.S. sales of 4.1 million vehicles in 2006 were down 9 percent compared with last year's 4.5 million, due to planned reductions in daily rental and other marginally-profitable sales.

"December was a very solid sales month for GM, exceeding our expectations, especially in full-size trucks and SUVs," said Mark LaNeve, vice president, GM North American Sales, Service and Marketing. "In 2006, despite challenging conditions, we stuck to the game plan and achieved our stated goals in support of Rick Wagoner's turnaround plan for North America. Specifically, we exceeded 3 million retail sales and stabilized market share, improved residual values and transaction prices, lowered daily rental sales, and we accomplished all of this while being the only major manufacturer to substantially lower incentive spending (down $700). For 2007, we'll continue our plans to stabilize retail volume, improve our mix, reduce sales to the daily rental market, exercise strategic and tactical incentive programs and strengthen average transaction prices. We will continue to provide customers with the best coverage in the industry, including our 5 year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty with roadside assistance and courtesy transportation."

"As we move to the next phase of the turnaround plan, we plan to win by offering our customers the best products with industry-leading value and dealer service," LaNeve added. "So we are optimistic as we introduce exceptional new vehicles - such as the GMC Acadia and Sierra, Saturn Aura and Outlook, Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Silverado and the all-new Cadillac CTS."

December sales were up 10 percent compared with November, driven by a surge in full-size trucks that offer outstanding fuel economy and value. Highlights include:

* Best sales month of the year for Cadillac (22,715 vehicles) with a 65 percent increase in truck sales compared with December 2005
* Saturn total December sales up 42 percent
* Saab total and retail sales were up 33 percent
* Saturn and Saab saw car sales increases, and total GM car sales in December were up 2 percent on a sales-day adjusted basis.

For calendar year 2006, GM noted several significant achievements that point to strong consumer acceptance of its new products:

* Including the GMC Sierra, GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado, GM sold more than a million pickup trucks in 2006. GM moved the much-anticipated launch of the all-new full size 2007 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks ahead 13 weeks.
* Sales of the Chevrolet Equinox and HHR, Pontiac Torrent and Saturn VUE drove GM's small utility and crossover sales up 27 percent in 2006, with 346,952 total deliveries.
* HUMMER had a record sales year with 71,524 deliveries, up 26 percent. H3 sales were up 63 percent, to 54,052 deliveries, compared with 2005.
* Saturn sales for 2006 totaled a record 226,375 vehicles, a 6 percent increase on a sales-day adjusted basis compared with 2005. The Aura, Sky and VUE led this improvement. The new Saturn Outlook crossover is being launched now.
* Pontiac G6 had a 26 percent sales increase in 2006, compared with 2005. Chevrolet Impala sales were up 18 percent, with 289,868 vehicles sold. Chevrolet HHR sold 101,298 vehicles and Buick Lucerne sold 96,515 vehicles in 2006, each building on their launch momentum.

As GM executes the North America turnaround plan, much media attention has focused on the sales races between GM and its competitors. "We are obviously competing in a fiercely contested global marketplace," LaNeve said. "We're optimistic that our newest generation of products will continue to drive revenue growth and brand image."

Certified Used Vehicles

December 2006 sales for all certified GM brands, including GM Certified Used Vehicles, Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, Saturn Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, Saab Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, and HUMMER Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, were 41,800 units, down nearly 6 percent from last December.

GM Certified Used Vehicles, the industry's top-selling certified brand, posted December sales of 35,774 units, down 8 percent. Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles posted strong December sales of 3,948 units, up 18 percent. Saturn Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 1,341 units in December, down nearly 18 percent. Saab Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 607 units, up 9 percent, and HUMMER Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 130 units.

Total 2006 sales for all certified GM brands were 520,189 units, down 2 percent from last year's total. Annual sales for GM Certified Used Vehicles, the industry's top-selling manufacturer-certified brand, were 449,461 units, down 1 percent from its category record sales results in 2005, while Chevrolet again finished the year as the industry's top-selling single-make certified used vehicle brand.

Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned finished 2006 with sales of 42,143 units, up 9 percent over the previous year. Saab Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 8,330 units in 2006, down nearly 4 percent, while Saturn Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 19,244 units, down 35 percent. HUMMER Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 1,011 units in its first year of operation.

"Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles posted another strong month, with December sales of 3,948 units, up 18 percent from last December, and total annual 2006 sales up 9 percent from 2005," said LaNeve. "GM Certified Used Vehicles finished 2006 as the industry's top-selling certified brand for the fifth consecutive year, while Chevrolet ranked as the top-selling single-line make certified used vehicle brand. Certified GM brands, including GM Certified Used Vehicles, Cadillac, Saturn, Saab and HUMMER Pre-Owned Vehicles, again led all manufacturers with total 2006 sales of 520,189 units."

GM North America Reports December and 2006 Fourth-Quarter Production, 2007 First-Quarter Production Forecast is Revised at 1.120 Million Vehicles

In December, GM North America produced 319,000 vehicles (125,000 cars and 194,000 trucks). This is down 42,000 vehicles or 12 percent compared to December 2005 when the region produced 361,000 vehicles (139,000 cars and 222,000 trucks). (Production totals include joint venture production of 16,000 vehicles in December 2006 and 24,000 vehicles in December 2005.)

Also, GM North America built 1.107 million vehicles (447,000 cars and 660,000 trucks) in the fourth quarter of 2006. This is down 174,000 vehicles or 14 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2005 when the region produced 1.281 million vehicles (483,000 cars and 798,000 trucks). Additionally, the region's 2007 first-quarter production forecast is revised at 1.120 million vehicles (455,000 cars and 665,000 trucks), down 20,000 vehicles from last month's guidance. The majority of the production decrease is attributed to GM's ongoing efforts to reduce low-margin daily rental fleet sales. The remainder of the cuts is attributed to shifting production to the company's new full-size pickups and the ongoing management of inventories.

GM also announced 2006 revised fourth-quarter and 2007 first-quarter production forecasts for its international regions.

GM Europe - The region's 2006 fourth-quarter production forecast is revised at 443,000 vehicles. This is down 2,000 vehicles compared to last month's guidance. In the fourth quarter of 2005 the region built 443,000 vehicles. The region's 2007 first-quarter production forecast remains unchanged at 508,000 vehicles. In the first quarter of 2006 the region built 494,000 vehicles.

GM Asia Pacific - GM Asia Pacific's 2006 fourth-quarter production forecast is revised at 507,000 vehicles, up 3,000 vehicles from last month's guidance. In the fourth quarter of 2005 the region built 420,000 vehicles. The region's 2007 first-quarter production forecast is revised at 531,000 vehicles, down 8,000 vehicles from last month's guidance. In the first quarter of 2006 the region built 472,000 vehicles.

GM Latin America, Africa and the Middle East - The region's 2006 fourth-quarter production estimate is revised at 216,000 vehicles, up 1,000 vehicles from last month's guidance. In the fourth quarter of 2005 the region built 188,000 vehicles. The region's 2007 first-quarter production forecast remains unchanged at 214,000 vehicles. In the first quarter of 2006 the region built 194,000 vehicles.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader for 75 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 318,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2005, 9.17 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

Note: GM sales and production results are available on GM Media OnLine at http://media.gm.com by clicking on News, then Sales/Production. In this press release and related comments by General Motors management, we use words like "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "forecast," "objective," "plan," "goal" and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements, representing our current judgment about possible future events. We believe these judgments are reasonable, but actual results may differ materially due to a variety of important factors. Among other items, such factors might include: the pace of introductions and market acceptance of new products; the effect of competition on our markets and significant changes in the competitive environment; price increases or shortages of fuel; and changes in laws, regulations or tax rates. GM's most recent annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly report on Form 10-Q provide information about these factors, which may be revised or supplemented in future reports to the SEC on Form 10-Q or 8-K.

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