Chevy Sonic

Lifted by Small Cars, General Motors Reports Highest September US Sales Since 2008

General Motors Co. reported its highest September U.S. sales since 2008, led by a 29% jump in passenger-car sales.

General Motors Co. (IW 500/4) reported its highest September U.S. sales since 2008, led by a 29% jump in passenger-car sales.

GM sold 210,245 vehicles in September, up 1.5% year-over-year.

Highlights included the subcompact Chevy Sonic, which had a 428% jump in year-over-year sales, and the compact Chevy Cruze, which had a 43% increase.  

"Passenger cars have been the launch point for a broad and deep GM product offensive," said Kurt McNeil, GM's vice president of U.S. sales operations. "Auto sales will continue to be a bright spot for the U.S. economy, which is particularly good news for GM as we walk into an even stronger cadence of new products in 2013 and 2014."

Sales of GM's mini, small and compact cars were up 97% collectively, according to the automaker.

Still, Edmunds.com senior analyst Michelle Krebs called September "a choppy month" for GM.

"Sales of the Chevrolet Cruze zoomed back into 25,000-unit territory where it had been in the months following the Japan earthquake and tsunami last year. And the Sonic had an outstanding month with more than 7,500 sold to put it once again at the top of its class," Krebs said.

"But Cadillac, despite having two new models on the market, is somehow struggling. The bread-and-butter CTS saw a 34% slide in sales -- and with only 611 units of the ATS sold, cannibalization doesn't account for all of the slide.

"Likewise, Cadillac's other core model -- SRX -- had its own sales decline. At Buick, sales were up nearly 8% but largely due to added sales from the new Verano."

GM noted that its truck sales were down 20% due to a 46% year-over-year reduction in fleet sales stemming from "the timing of customer deliveries."

In the large-pickup segment, GM's total sales were down 12% and fleet sales dropped 56%.

"However, GM reduced its large-pickup inventories by approximately 8,600 units compared with August, and earned average transaction prices more than $2,300 per unit above a year ago with the lowest incentive spending in the industry, according to J.D. Power PIN data," the automaker said in a news release.

GM noted that it "has moved aggressively to replace existing vehicles with better designs, more technology and improved fuel economy."

"At the same time, GM is entering growth segments and offering new entry points for each brand," the automaker said. "Seventy percent of GM nameplates will be all new or redesigned in 2012 and 2013."

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