Bear Stearns Drops GM Credit Rating After "Surprisingly Weak" June Sales

The General took a double punch to the gut his week even Bumblebee couldn't protect them from. First there were sales numbers down 24% for June on a month-to-month basis. That was a drop described by Deutsche Bank as so weak it was "surprising." Given sentiment toward US automakers these days, wethinks it takes a heck of a lot to be seen as "surprising." But then Bear Stearns dropped the second slug to the chest — a drop in credit rating from "overperform" to "peer perform." Maybe the magic of the "Allspark" will help them get back into fighting form. Or maybe they just need some lower gas prices during July — but they probably shouldn't be betting on it. Full press release from GM after the jump.

GM's credit rating drops after 'surprisingly weak' June sales [Detroit News]

GM Reports 326,300 June Deliveries

(Monthly comparison percentages are adjusted for sales days unless noted. Annual and calendar year-to-date comparisons are unadjusted.)

* GMC Acadia, Saturn OUTLOOK and Buick Enclave Achieve Industry Mid-Crossover Segment Leadership with Significant Retail and Total Sales Increases
* Daily Rental Sales Down 22 Percent In June; Down Almost 100,000 in First Half of 2007
* All-New Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Boost Full-Size Pickup Total and Retail Sales Increase in First Half of 2007 Compared With A Year Ago

DETROIT - GM dealers in the United States delivered 326,300 vehicles in June, down 24 percent, compared with year-ago monthly sales. The decline was partly attributed to a planned reduction of an additional 13,487 daily rental sale vehicles in the month. GM now has taken more than 92,000 daily rental vehicles out of the sales totals in 2007.

"Given the planned reduction in daily rental sales, we expected June would be a tough comparison to a year ago. Our retail performance for the month was also below the solid running rate we've experienced for the first half of the year which we attribute to a soft industry and lower incentive spending than our competitors. However, we continue to believe that maintaining a disciplined approach to both incentives and daily rental car sales is key to making our marketing strategy work in the long run," said Mark LaNeve, vice president, GM North American Sales, Service and Marketing.

"We continue our focus on the retail side of the equation and first-half results were solid," LaNeve added. "We are delighted with the continuing success of new products, especially the GMC Acadia, Saturn OUTLOOK and Buick Enclave. As with many of our vehicles, these all-new crossovers offer great fuel economy, terrific performance and outstanding value. For example, a year ago we were selling only about 3,000 mid-utility crossover vehicles. This June we blew the doors off the segment with deliveries in excess of 15,000."

Increased sales of the Saturn AURA, as well as the new mid-size crossovers GMC Acadia, Saturn OUTLOOK and Buick Enclave, demonstrate GM's strong positioning in the marketplace for fuel-efficient vehicles. The GMC Acadia, Saturn OUTLOOK and Buick Enclave had retail sales of more than 12,000 vehicles, pushing a significant retail increase in GM's mid-crossover segment. GM's total sales of more than 15,000 vehicles in this segment pushed monthly performance up more than 377 percent, compared with the same month last year.

The all-new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickup trucks - fuel efficiency leaders in their class - helped the GM full-size pickup segment post a first half 2007 sales increase, compared with the same period a year ago, in a challenging industry environment. The Silverado and Sierra also offer the best warranty coverage and residual values in segment, a winning combination for these products.

"We're seeing increased residual values for our products as a result of staying aligned and disciplined to our North American turnaround and market growth plans. For customers, this means providing industry-leading products in terms of design, segment fuel economy, warranty coverage and performance," LaNeve added. "This translates to a beneficial cost of ownership experience. With new products such as the Cadillac CTS and Chevrolet Malibu coming to dealer showrooms later this year, we expect to build on this customer enthusiasm."

Certified Used Vehicles

June 2007 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 45,876 units, up 6 percent from last June. Total year-to-date certified GM sales are 273,241 units, up 4 percent from the same period last year.

GM Certified Used Vehicles, the industry's top-selling manufacturer-certified used brand, posted 40,423 sales, up 9 percent from last June. Year-to-date sales for GM Certified Used Vehicles are 240,138 units, up 5 percent from the same period in 2006.

Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles posted June sales of 3,108 units, down 14 percent from last June. Saturn Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 1,484 units in June, down 9 percent. Saab Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 764 units, down 11 percent from last June, and HUMMER Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 97 units, up nearly 7 percent.

"GM Certified Used Vehicles, the industry's top-selling manufacturer-certified brand, posted a strong performance in June, leading the segment with sales of 40,423 units, up 9 percent from last June," said LaNeve. "GM Certified is on track to build on this momentum toward another record performance for the category for 2007."

In June, GM North America produced 404,000 vehicles (142,000 cars and 262,000 trucks). This is down 56,000 units or 12 percent compared to June 2006 when the region produced 460,000 vehicles (173,000 cars and 287,000 trucks). (Production totals include joint venture production of 21,000 vehicles in June 2007 and 27,000 vehicles in June 2006.)

GM North America built 1.141 million vehicles (401,000 cars and 740,000 trucks) in the second-quarter of 2007. This is down 96,000 vehicles or 8 percent compared to second-quarter of 2006 when the region produced 1.237 million vehicles (462,000 cars and 775,000 trucks). The region's 2007 third-quarter production forecast is unchanged at 1.075 million vehicles (377,000 cars and 698,000 trucks).

GM also announced revised 2007 second-quarter and third-quarter production forecasts for its international regions.

GM Europe -The region's 2007 second-quarter production forecast is revised at 463,000 vehicles, down 5,000 units from last month's guidance. In the second-quarter of 2006 the region built 495,000 vehicles. The region's 2007 third-quarter production forecast remains unchanged at 389,000 vehicles. In the third-quarter of 2006 the region built 374,000 vehicles.

GM Asia Pacific - GM Asia Pacific's 2007 second-quarter production forecast is revised at 569,000 vehicles, up 1,000 units from last month's guidance. In the second-quarter of 2006 the region built 482,000 vehicles. The region's 2007 third-quarter production forecast is revised at 518,000 vehicles, down 6,000 units from last month's guidance. In the third-quarter of 2006 the region built 433,000 vehicles.

GM Latin America, Africa and the Middle East - The region's 2007 second-quarter production forecast is revised at 234,000 vehicles, up 1,000 units from last month's guidance. In the second-quarter of 2006 the region built 206,000 vehicles. The region's 2007 third-quarter production forecast is unchanged at 258,000 vehicles. In the third-quarter of 2006 the region built 215,000 vehicles.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 280,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2006, nearly 9.1 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.

# # #

Related:
Bob Lutz Wants You To Buy A House To Help GM Sales; Seriously...This IS Breaking! GM Kills Expectations, Sees Sales Increase Of 3.4% For February! [internal]