GM Hybrid sales slowly picking up some steam: 1,629 deliveries in August

General Motors is finally starting to regularly break out the sales figures for its hybrid vehicles and while the numbers are improving, they still look very weak compared to the competition. August was the company's best month yet for hybrids with a whopping 1,629 units delivered of the six available models. Buyers took home a combined 797 examples of the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon plus a single Escalade hybrid. The Escalade only went on sale in late August so we'll be looking for the September numbers to see if there really is any demand for a $70,000+ luxury hybrid SUV. Over on the mild hybrid side of the tally, the Saturn Vue was the winner with 417 sales, followed by the Malibu at 388 and finally the Aura with a mere 26 sales. These numbers are still pretty weak but at least they are trending upward. Over 12 months the current rate amounts to over 19,500 units, a number that will likely grow significantly when the two-mode Vue goes on sale in a few months. With six hybrids on sale though, that's still pretty tame compared even to Ford, which sells every one of the 25,000 Escape and Mariner hybrids it offers. Ford will likely jump well out ahead in the new year with the Fusion hybrid. Next month, we'll be carefully watching Chrysler's numbers as well, since the first sales of the Durango and Aspen hybrids should be recorded.


[Source: General Motors]

Press release

GM Reports 308,817 Deliveries in August; Up 31.3 Percent From July and the Highest Monthly Sales Total in 2008; Employee Discount For Everyone Extended

  • Car retail sales increase driven by Chevrolet Malibu sales up 212 percent, Pontiac Vibe up 114 percent, Cadillac CTS up 87 percent, Corvette up 49 percent and Chevrolet Impala up 27 percent compared with last August
  • Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook crossover retail sales up 29 percent
  • 80,000 Chevrolet Silverado, Avalanche and GMC Sierra pickups sold, best month since August, 2007
  • Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban and GMC Yukon sales highest so far in 2008 with more than 22,000 deliveries
  • August had largest total, retail and fleet deliveries so far in 2008
  • Anticipated best monthly market share performance of 2008

DETROIT - General Motors dealers in the United States delivered 308,817 vehicles in August, making it GM's best monthly total, retail and fleet sales performance so far in 2008. The strong showing was spurred by GM's Employee Discount for Everyone sale in celebration of GM's Centennial later this month. In response to ongoing customer and dealer demand, the sale is being extended through September 30, 2008 and a number of 2009 models are being added due to dwindling 2008 inventories.

Compared with an exceptionally strong retail and fleet month last year, August total sales were down 20 percent. However, when compared with July, 2008, total sales were up 31 percent, retail sales were up 32 percent and fleet sales were up 29 percent. Last August's sales performance was influenced by significantly lower fuel prices and a 0 percent APR for 60 months offer on pickups.

Notably in August, Chevrolet Silverado, Avalanche and GMC Sierra had their strongest total sales month since last August, with more than 80,000 vehicles sold, as GM full-size pickups continue to build market share calendar-year-to-date. Silverado sales were up 69 percent, Avalanche was up 59 percent and Sierra sales increased 75 percent compared with July, 2008.

Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban and GMC Yukon full-size utilities had their best performance of the year with total sales up 33 percent compared with July with more than 22,000 vehicles sold. Overall, GM August truck sales (excluding crossovers) declined 25.6 percent compared with a year ago.

"Our award-winning lineup of new products, combined with the GM Employee Discount for Everyone sale that started August 20th, helped drive additional showroom traffic and our dealers are giving us some very enthusiastic feedback. We had our best sales month so far in 2008. Today we're announcing the extension of the sale through September 30, and we've added 19 additional 2009 models to the eligible list of vehicles because our 2008 stock on dealer lots is rapidly disappearing," said Mark LaNeve, vice president, GM North America Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing.

"With the recent moderation in fuel prices, we're seeing some relaxation of pent-up demand in pickups and utilities. Our August sales of these segment-leading trucks and utilities has been the best in nearly a year and August marked the fourth consecutive month that truck sales as a percentage of GM and industry sales increased. We also saw double-digit retail increases in our crossovers compared with July," LaNeve added. "We saw great car retail performance in our launch products, including the Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac CTS, Pontiac Vibe and G8, and Saturn Astra, and continued strong retail demand for our fuel efficient Chevrolet Aveo and HHR."

Chevrolet retail car sales were up 18 percent, Pontiac retail car sales increased 11 percent and Cadillac retail car sales were up 10 percent compared with last August.

Cadillac CTS dominated the mid-car luxury category with retail sales increasing 87 percent compared with the same month a year ago.

Saturn Astra monthly sales of more than 1,900 vehicles were the best to date, and show a 28 percent increase compared with July 2008 (Astra was not available last August).

GM's popular midsized crossovers -- Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook -- together accounted for more than 14,600 vehicle sales in the month, with a retail sales increase of 29 percent compared with a year ago.

GM hybrid vehicles continue to gain in popularity in the marketplace with 530 hybrid Chevrolet Tahoe, 267 GMC Yukon and 1 Cadillac Escalade 2-mode SUVs delivered. There were 388 Chevrolet Malibu, 26 Saturn Aura and 417 Vue hybrids sold in August. For the month, a total of 1,629 hybrid vehicles were delivered, with 7,096 hybrids sold so far this year.

"Customers are responding to our six hybrid models - vehicles that provide industry-leading value, great fuel economy and the best warranty coverage of any full-line automaker," LaNeve added. "We're working hard to change perceptions and gain awareness of GM as the leader in advanced propulsion technology and fuel efficiency."

GM has aggressively managed inventories to low levels. In August, only about 736,000 vehicles were in stock - the lowest August level since 1998 - down about 209,000 vehicles (22 percent) compared with last August. There were about 256,000 cars and 480,000 trucks (including crossovers) in inventory at the end of August.

Certified Used Vehicles

August 2008 sales for all certified GM brands, including GM Certified Used Vehicles, Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, Saturn Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, Saab Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, and HUMMER Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, were 41,238 vehicles, down 8 percent from August 2007. Year-to-date sales are 339,375 vehicles, down 5 percent from the same period last year.

GM Certified Used Vehicles, the industry's top-selling certified brand, posted August sales of 35,168 vehicles, down 12 percent from a strong August 2007 sales performance. Saturn Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 1,005 vehicles, down nearly 6 percent. Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 4,023 vehicles, up 27 percent. Saab Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 791 vehicles, up 32 percent, and HUMMER Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 251 vehicles, up 130 percent.

"The Cadillac, Saab and HUMMER programs posted robust sales increases in August, while GM Certified Used Vehicles continues to lead the certified pre-owned segment in sales," said LaNeve. "The launch this month of a new 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty on all Saturn Certified Pre-Owned and GM Certified Used Vehicles, effective September 13, will provide shoppers a range of peace-of-mind assurances as strong as those provided by any certified program in America."

GM North America Reports August, 2008 Production; Third-Quarter Production Forecast at 920,000 Vehicles; Initial Fourth Quarter Forecast is 875,000 Vehicles

In August, GM North America produced 341,000 vehicles (158,000 cars and 183,000 trucks). This is down 96,000 vehicles or 22 percent compared with August 2007 when the region produced 437,000 vehicles (152,000 cars and 285,000 trucks). (Production totals include joint venture production of 18,000 vehicles in August 2008 and 21,000 vehicles in August 2007.)

The GM North America third-quarter production forecast is at 920,000 vehicles (443,000 cars and 477,000 trucks) which is down about 10 percent compared with a year ago, due to production adjustments in response to market changes that will reduce the number of trucks produced by about 176,000 and increase the number of cars by about 76,000. GM North America built 1.020 million vehicles (367,000 cars and 653,000 trucks) in the third-quarter of 2007.

The initial GM North America fourth-quarter production forecast is 875,000 vehicles (436,000 cars and 439,000 trucks) which is down about 16 percent compared with a year ago. GM North America built 1.042 million vehicles (358,000 cars and 684,000 trucks) in the fourth-quarter of 2007.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 77 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 266,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 35 countries. In 2007, nearly 9.37 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at

Note: GM sales and production results are available on GM Media OnLine at by clicking on News, then Sales/Production. In this press release and related comments by General Motors management, we use words like "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "forecast," "objective," "plan," "goal" and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements, representing our current judgment about possible future events. We believe these judgments are reasonable, but actual results may differ materially due to a variety of important factors. Among other items, such factors might include: market acceptance of our products; shortages of and price increases for fuel; significant changes in the competitive environment and the effect of competition on our markets, including on our pricing policies; our ability to maintain adequate liquidity and financing sources and an appropriate level of debt; and changes in general economic conditions. GM's most recent annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly report on Form 10-Q provide information about these factors, which may be revised or supplemented in future reports to the SEC on Form 10-Q or 8-K.

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