GM just posted the oddest delivery report we have ever seen for Q1 & Q2 2020.
Incredibly, GM’s core products, its pickup trucks, have maintained their rate of sales through this unprecedented sales disruption. GM’s half-year deliveries show that sales overall dropped by over a third in the first two quarters, but pickups are doing well compared to 2019.
“Our resilient sales reflect an improving demand curve, and the strong efforts of GM and our retailers in unprecedented times,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president, Sales Operations. “GM entered the quarter with very lean inventories and our dealers did a great job meeting customer demand, especially for pickups. Now, we are refilling the pipeline by quickly and safely returning production to pre-pandemic levels. Having an appropriate mix of the right vehicles combined with the benefits of enhanced shopping technologies such as Shop. Click. Drive., positions us for success in the second half of 2020.”
GM says that its retail sales were off by about 24 percent in the quarter, in line with the industry averages. GM’s retail sales in April were down the most in the quarter, off by about 35 percent compared to last year. However, GM reports that sales recovered significantly in May and June with year-over-year declines of around 20 percent or less.
The bright spot is trucks. Silverado light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty are all UP for 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. GM delivered over 200,000 Silverado LD trucks, up 4.1% over 2019. Sierra light and heavy-duty trucks had even bigger gains, up 6% and 22% respectively.
“After falling into a deep recession in March, the U.S. economy has begun to recover as it reopens. Auto sales are benefiting from historically low interest rates that make now an attractive time to buy a vehicle for many customers. We expect continued sales recovery as businesses ramp back up, but recognize that the path forward may not be linear, as rising infections in many states may lead to steps backward in the reopening process,” said Buckberg.
To grow its dealer inventory as rapidly as possible, GM is collaborating with logistics and trucking companies to ensure vehicles are shipping as soon as they are produced. GM says that the company is well positioned with both strong empty railcar supply and haul-away capacity to respond quickly and enable the flow of new vehicles to dealers.
GM Chief Economist, Elaine Buckberg noted that vehicle sales responded strongly in May to the expiration of many stay-at-home orders.