General Motors reported global sales of 2,296,000 vehicles in the third quarter, which is a 3-percent decline versus Q3 of last year. That's only 66,000 unit off what was sold during the same period in 2005, and the GM spinmeisters attribute the difference to the employee pricing war last year and the company's commitment to reduce rental and fleet sales this year. Aight, we can buy that, so perhaps GM really did hold its ground this year in the global market.

The automaker claims its market share in North America, which includes the U.S. and Canada (it's first and third biggest markets) has increased steadily each quarter this year, from 23.8 percent in Q1 to 24.1 percent in Q2 to 25.1 percent in Q3. Since the press release has no hard numbers, that claim is difficult to verify, but most around the Autoblog office believe it to be true since the General's done particularly well with its more vanilla offerings like the Cobalt and Impala. Still, the General's global brands kicked it up a notch with Chevy seeing growth in nearly every market, especially the ones that will become increasingly important like India (up 44%) and China (up 6%). As we reported earlier, HUMMER sales are also strong around the world, up 54% year to date. It's all about the H3 though, with GM neglecting to mention the H2 in its press release at all.

Check out the rest of GM's report on its Q3 performance after the jump, but as with any sales report, be ready to wade through some spin.

[Source: GM]


PRESS RELEASE:

GM Delivers 2.3 Million Vehicles in Third Quarter

  • Global HUMMER Sales Up 54 Percent Year to Date
  • Saab Sales at Record Levels Through First Nine Months
  • Chevrolet Records Double-Digit Sales Increases in Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin American Regions

DETROIT – General Motors reported third-quarter global sales (July-September) of 2,296,000 vehicles, supported by the performances of its global brands Cadillac, Chevrolet, Saab and HUMMER. Although the overall number marks a 3-percent decrease over the same period a year ago, the difference of 66,000 vehicle sales compared with the same period last year is largely attributable to a comparison with the results of the Employee Discount for Everyone program in North America last year and the planned reduction of daily rental and fleet sales this year. GM's foundational brand Chevrolet saw double-digit increases in the most important growth markets around the world.

"Our global brands Cadillac, Chevrolet, Saab and HUMMER continue to show their worldwide strength. We're also seeing outstanding growth through the first nine months of the year for GM brands in emerging markets such as China (up 37 percent); Russia (up 64 percent); and India (up 18 percent)," said John Middlebrook, vice president of global sales, service and marketing.

"We are seeing the revitalized marketing strategy in North America first stabilize, and now slightly improve, our market share in the United States -- from 23.8 percent in the first quarter of 2006, to 24.1 percent in Q2, then 25.1 percent in Q3."

Chevrolet recorded year to date sales increases in Asia Pacific (27 percent), Latin America and the Middle East (20 percent) and Europe (10 percent). Most encouraging is Chevrolet's third-quarter growth in emerging markets such as Russia, up 89 percent; India, up 44 percent; Brazil, up 16 percent; and China up 6 percent. Chevrolet also saw record third-quarter sales in Europe, and a 10 percent increase compared to last year, with 87,000 vehicles sold. Further growth for the brand is expected with the introduction of the new Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup truck in North America, and the expanded availability of the Captiva sport utility in Europe, Asia and other select markets.

HUMMER sales remain strong with a 54-percent increase year to date. Global year to date H3 sales are up 120 percent compared with the same period a year ago. In the Middle East, HUMMER sales were up 368 percent, with 1,700 vehicles sold, year to date. In the United States, H3 sales for the quarter were up 20 percent to 16,000 vehicles. Global HUMMER sales should continue to strengthen with the additional H3 volume available from GM's new assembly facility in South Africa. Production of H3s began this month in South Africa, and a right-hand-drive version of the H3 will be added to the portfolio next May.

Cadillac sales in China and Europe have shown powerful improvements so far this year. In China, where Cadillac was introduced only two years ago, year to date sales are up 43 percent. In Europe, Cadillac sales are up 30 percent year to date. In the United States, Escalade continues its dominance of the Large Luxury Utility segment with a 41 percent share of the market.

Saab global year to date sales increased 7 percent compared with year-ago levels, to 104,000 vehicles, helping the brand set a new record for the first nine months of the year. Growth was seen in Europe and Asia where sales increased 18 percent compared with the first nine months of 2005. In Sweden, the Saab 9-5 BioPower was once again the number one 'green vehicle' sold.

Note: Numbers and percentages are preliminary and have been rounded.