Shares of General Motors plummeted nearly 5 percent last Tuesday (April 3) to $24.20 (from nearly $27), after the automaker announced U.S. sales results for March that didn’t live up to analyst expectations. The shares continued to drop throughout all of last week and through Monday, April 9, falling almost 10 percent since the sales announcement.
Even though overall sales were up 11.8 percent year-over-year, the average estimate of 10 analysts called for gains of 19 percent. The results especially missed the mark at Buick (down 16.3 percent) and Cadillac (down 13.4 percent).
In what may possibly be one of the most on-point statements of the year, Baum & Associates principal Alan Baum was quoted as saying that “GM’s got problems in Cadillac, which they have a solution to with the ATS and XTS coming later this year, and Buick’s a work in progress.”
It’s no secret that Cadillac is on the fast track to revamping its product portfolio with the ATS, CTS, and XTS, but when it does, it will still face stiff competition from Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Daimler AG, which are jockeying for the top spot in the luxury segment in the country.
“The competition is being very aggressive,” Kurt McNeil, GM’s Cadillac vice president of sales, said on the monthly sales call. “It’s not for the faint of heart.”
Meanwhile, Buick lost several hundred sales to the discontinuation of the Lucerne, while the Verano is being introduced to the marketplace.
According to several automotive analysts, consumers who put off car purchases during the recession as well as a decrease in the unemployment rate spurred the fastest increase in auto sales in four years. The gains came in the face of steadily rising gasoline prices, which rose 20 percent so far in 2012 through the end of March.
The GM Authority Take
It’s nice to be the biggest… and the baddest. But how about being the most profitable? We think there’s no reason The General can’t do both — especially with its wide assortment of brands compared to the competition.
And from what we hear, this is just the beginning — and the real offensive will come in approximately one year, as the rest of the GM product family receives thorough redesigns.