General Motors Through June

One of the things that General Motors is emphasizing of late is that it has a “retail-focused strategy.” This means that rather than selling to rental companies, it is focusing on selling to consumers.

One of the things that General Motors is emphasizing of late is that it has a “retail-focused strategy.” This means that rather than selling to rental companies, it is focusing on selling to consumers. Apparently, the rental companies don’t pay as much as you or I do. What’s more, when there is a sea of sedans sitting in the parking lots surrounding airports, at some point those cars flow back into the secondary retail market, which means that because there are so many of them, residual values (i.e., the money that you or I can get when we trade-in our vehicle) are lower.

2016 Buick Envision

Buick Envision

“Our retail-focused strategy is resulting in the highest share gains in the industry. Chevrolet is the fastest growing full-line brand and we expect that trend to continue as the availability of newly launched products improves in the second half of the year,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of Sales Operations.

So let’s look at some numbers for June as well as for the first half of 2016, compared with the same times last year.

Buick: Cars are not doing at all well. The LaCrosse was down 49.9 percent for the month and is down 32.6 percent for the year. Regal down 22.6 percent and 1.4 percent respectively, while Verano, the vehicle that was eating Regal’s lunch for years, was off 12.7 percent for June and is down 16.4 percent for the first half of 2016. The Cascada, the new convertible, has nothing to compare with, but in June 755 were sold, and 4,071 so far this year.

Crossovers at Buick are mixed. There is the compact Encore, which was up 10.2 percent in June and is up 19.2 percent for the year. But its big brother—older big brother—the Enclave was down 30.6 percent for June and is off 13.6 percent for the year. There is the new China-built Envision (yes, you read that right: the Envision crossover comes from China), of which 1,437 were delivered in June, and 1,526 so far this year.

Cadillac: The Standard of the World continues to sputter in the retail space. Particularly its cars. Cars which, across the board, are really quite good. The only Cadillac car that doesn’t have a minus sign in front of a number is the CT6, as it is a new model for this year. In June 962 were delivered, and 1,979 so far this year.

The giant Escalade SUV continues strong in sales, and while the SRX is off, that’s because it is going out of the market, being replaced by the XT5.

The first-ever 2017 Cadillac XT5 is a comprehensively upgraded luxury crossover and the cornerstone of a new series of crossovers in the brand’s ongoing expansion. The XT5 further builds on Cadillac’s trademark attributes of distinctive, sophisticated and agile vehicles. Pictured: 2017 Cadillac XT5 Platinum; Exterior paint shown in in Red Passion Tintcoat; Interior environment shown in Maple Sugar with Jet Black accents and Satin Rosewood wood trim.

Cadillac XT5

Chevrolet: This is a mixed bag. According to GM, Chevy is the “fastest-growing full-line brand in the industry.” Apparently growth is not always large. That is, all-in for June Chevrolet sales are up 0.1 percent. For the first half they’re down 4.4 percent. Must be a retail metric somewhere that explains the growth.

Indeed, according to GM (which I need to quote at length):

“GM’s retail sales strength is reflected in the ongoing sales performance of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups. Every month since January 2014, GM has sold more full-size pickups than any other original equipment manufacturer, according to Polk retail registrations and J.D. Power PIN retail sales data. GM is achieving these results while spending less on incentives than its competitors and commanding record Average Transaction Prices (ATPs). In June, GM full-size pickup ATPs were up $3,300 compared to last year and Silverado recorded its highest monthly ATP in history. Year to date, GM full-size pickup ATPs are up $2,600 compared to last year.”

But if you look at the gross number of deliveries for Silverado, they’re down 3.7 percent for June and down 0.8 percent for the year. Sierra, however, is doing better. For the year so far, it is up 5.6 percent, though in June it was off 7.8 percent.

Before leaving Chevy, a shout-out to the Volt. It had been sputtering for years, but with the new generation version, it is gaining traction. In June its sales were up 58.1 percent and it is up a highly respectable 74.5 percent for the first half of 2016, compared with 2015.

GMC: Notable here is the performance of the mid-size Canyon pickup, which was up 34.2 percent for the month and is up 15.6 percent for the year. (The Chevy Colorado, its platform mate, was also up in June, by 38 percent, and for the year, 23.2 percent.) Surprisingly, overall GMC was down 8.6 percent for the month and is down 3.8 percent for the first half. Fresh products—like the new Acadia coming into the market and a Terrain on the horizon—ought to help before the year is out.