General Motors is reporting total August 2008 sales down 20.7% from August 2007; the report had a silver lining, however, as August marked the best month for GM sales in 2008 largely due to the popular Employee Pricing for Everyone sale the automaker has been running since Aug. 20. That sale has since been extended through September 30 and expanded to include some 2009 models. Car sales rose at Chevrolet, Cadillac and Pontiac, while GM also reported a 29% increase in sales of its Lambda-based crossovers, the Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave. Full release after the jump.
DETROIT - General Motors dealers in the United States delivered 308,817 vehicles in August, making it GM's best monthly total, retail and fleet sales performance so far in 2008. The strong showing was spurred by GM's Employee Discount for Everyone sale in celebration of GM's Centennial later this month. In response to ongoing customer and dealer demand, the sale is being extended through September 30, 2008 and a number of 2009 models are being added due to dwindling 2008 inventories. Compared with an exceptionally strong retail and fleet month last year, August total sales were down 20 percent. However, when compared with July, 2008, total sales were up 31 percent, retail sales were up 32 percent and fleet sales were up 29 percent. Last August's sales performance was influenced by significantly lower fuel prices and a 0 percent APR for 60 months offer on pickups. Notably in August, Chevrolet Silverado, Avalanche and GMC Sierra had their strongest total sales month since last August, with more than 80,000 vehicles sold, as GM full-size pickups continue to build market share calendar-year-to-date. Silverado sales were up 69 percent, Avalanche was up 59 percent and Sierra sales increased 75 percent compared with July, 2008. Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban and GMC Yukon full-size utilities had their best performance of the year with total sales up 33 percent compared with July with more than 22,000 vehicles sold. Overall, GM August truck sales (excluding crossovers) declined 25.6 percent compared with a year ago. "Our award-winning lineup of new products, combined with the GM Employee Discount for Everyone sale that started August 20th, helped drive additional showroom traffic and our dealers are giving us some very enthusiastic feedback. We had our best sales month so far in 2008. Today we're announcing the extension of the sale through September 30, and we've added 19 additional 2009 models to the eligible list of vehicles because our 2008 stock on dealer lots is rapidly disappearing," said Mark LaNeve, vice president, GM North America Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing. "With the recent moderation in fuel prices, we're seeing some relaxation of pent-up demand in pickups and utilities. Our August sales of these segment-leading trucks and utilities has been the best in nearly a year and August marked the fourth consecutive month that truck sales as a percentage of GM and industry sales increased. We also saw double-digit retail increases in our crossovers compared with July," LaNeve added. "We saw great car retail performance in our launch products, including the Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac CTS, Pontiac Vibe and G8, and Saturn Astra, and continued strong retail demand for our fuel efficient Chevrolet Aveo and HHR." Chevrolet retail car sales were up 18 percent, Pontiac retail car sales increased 11 percent and Cadillac retail car sales were up 10 percent compared with last August. Cadillac CTS dominated the mid-car luxury category with retail sales increasing 87 percent compared with the same month a year ago. Saturn Astra monthly sales of more than 1,900 vehicles were the best to date, and show a 28 percent increase compared with July 2008 (Astra was not available last August). GM's popular midsized crossovers — Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook — together accounted for more than 14,600 vehicle sales in the month, with a retail sales increase of 29 percent compared with a year ago. GM hybrid vehicles continue to gain in popularity in the marketplace with 530 hybrid Chevrolet Tahoe, 267 GMC Yukon and 1 Cadillac Escalade 2-mode SUVs delivered. There were 388 Chevrolet Malibu, 26 Saturn Aura and 417 Vue hybrids sold in August. For the month, a total of 1,629 hybrid vehicles were delivered, with 7,096 hybrids sold so far this year. "Customers are responding to our six hybrid models - vehicles that provide industry-leading value, great fuel economy and the best warranty coverage of any full-line automaker," LaNeve added. "We're working hard to change perceptions and gain awareness of GM as the leader in advanced propulsion technology and fuel efficiency." GM has aggressively managed inventories to low levels. In August, only about 736,000 vehicles were in stock - the lowest August level since 1998 - down about 209,000 vehicles (22 percent) compared with last August. There were about 256,000 cars and 480,000 trucks (including crossovers) in inventory at the end of August. Certified Used Vehicles August 2008 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 41,238 vehicles, down 8 percent from August 2007. Year-to-date sales are 339,375 vehicles, down 5 percent from the same period last year. GM Certified Used Vehicles, the industry's top-selling certified brand, posted August sales of 35,168 vehicles, down 12 percent from a strong August 2007 sales performance. Saturn Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 1,005 vehicles, down nearly 6 percent. Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 4,023 vehicles, up 27 percent. Saab Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 791 vehicles, up 32 percent, and HUMMER Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 251 vehicles, up 130 percent. "The Cadillac, Saab and HUMMER programs posted robust sales increases in August, while GM Certified Used Vehicles continues to lead the certified pre-owned segment in sales," said LaNeve. "The launch this month of a new 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty on all Saturn Certified Pre-Owned and GM Certified Used Vehicles, effective September 13, will provide shoppers a range of peace-of-mind assurances as strong as those provided by any certified program in America." GM North America Reports August, 2008 Production; Third-Quarter Production Forecast at 920,000 Vehicles; Initial Fourth Quarter Forecast is 875,000 Vehicles In August, GM North America produced 341,000 vehicles (158,000 cars and 183,000 trucks). This is down 96,000 vehicles or 22 percent compared with August 2007 when the region produced 437,000 vehicles (152,000 cars and 285,000 trucks). (Production totals include joint venture production of 18,000 vehicles in August 2008 and 21,000 vehicles in August 2007.) The GM North America third-quarter production forecast is at 920,000 vehicles (443,000 cars and 477,000 trucks) which is down about 10 percent compared with a year ago, due to production adjustments in response to market changes that will reduce the number of trucks produced by about 176,000 and increase the number of cars by about 76,000. GM North America built 1.020 million vehicles (367,000 cars and 653,000 trucks) in the third-quarter of 2007. The initial GM North America fourth-quarter production forecast is 875,000 vehicles (436,000 cars and 439,000 trucks) which is down about 16 percent compared with a year ago. GM North America built 1.042 million vehicles (358,000 cars and 684,000 trucks) in the fourth-quarter of 2007.