GMC Is Laughing In The Face Of The Chip Shortage

GMC says that it expects to have record Sierra sales this year.

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GM has been hit by the chip shortage harder than other automakers, but that apparently doesn’t include GMC, which said Tuesday that 2021 might end up a record year for the brand for Sierra sales. This is in part a deliberate decision on GMC’s part to prioritize chips for Sierra production.

This is not a surprise in that the higher-trim Sierras — the ones that dealers on the ground say are among the most popular — are also some of the most profitable cars GM makes, with some trims of the Sierra starting at over $55,000. What is a bit unusual, though, is that an automaker — any automaker — is sounding downright gleeful in a time when many of them are saying the end is very much not in sight.

From the Detroit Free Press:

“We’ve done very well. We believe we can still have an all-time sales record on the Sierra,” Duncan Aldred, global vice president of Buick GMC, told reporters Tuesday. “When we get chips, we generally put them in Sierra and Yukons and we’ve managed quite well through that (chip shortage) this year. We expect an improvement next year.”

[...]

“We’re selling every one we get and most of them are presold because people want to tag whatever Sierra they can get,” [Sam Slaughter, owner of Sellers Buick GMC in Farmington, Michigan] told the Free Press. “Most of them are AT4, Denali and Elevation, the higher-end trims.”

The 2021 Sierra AT4 light-duty pickup starts at $54,700, the Denali at $55,800 and the Elevation at $43,100.

In the third quarter, GMC’s sales of light-duty and heavy-duty Sierra pickups combined were down 22% to 52,774 compared with the year-ago quarter. But for the nine months ending in September, total Sierra sales were up almost 10% at 191,186 compared with the year-ago period.

For the full-year 2020, GMC sold 253,016 total Sierra pickups, a 9% gain over 2019, according to GM.

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Aldred also says that GMC will not be cutting production of the cheaper trims of the Sierra, and I wish I could believe him, given that the lesson of the pandemic for American automakers is that they probably don’t need to be selling a cheap anything. Let’s hope that Aldred is serious, though, and maybe he is, given that a base Sierra is not a cheap car to begin with, with a starting price of $30,100. Congratulations to GMC, I guess.