Starting with April 2018, General Motors ceased reporting sales results on a monthly basis for its two biggest markets – the United States and China. But that hasn’t stopped a few people “familiar with the matter” from telling Bloomberg News that GM sales fell 13 percent in August.
According to the sources, the decline came as a result of sales incentives, especially for full-size pickup trucks.
The alleged 13 percent drop in GM sales is notably lower than the 7.7 percent drop estimated by analysts.
But GM wasn’t the only automaker to underperform, as all major automakers except for Ford Motor Company fell short of predictions in August as a result of eroding demand for passenger cars, including the segment stalwarts such as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
If GM also reduced fleet sales during the month, doing so would also cause sales volume to deteriorate even further as a result of a weaker demand at the retail level. A pull-back in incentives would compound that issue.
GM Declines To Comment
Bloomberg reached out to GM spokesman Jim Cain, who declined to comment on the alleged sales figures. He did, however, confirm that GM reduced discounts during the month.
One of the recurring themes in which the post-bankruptcy “New GM” manages its sales operations involves exhibiting cold-blooded discipline in regards to incentive spending, and August was no exception to that strategy.
GM reportedly lowered incentive spending in August by over $800 per vehicle on a year-over-year basis. The incentives were down about $200 from July to $4,146 per vehicle. By comparison, Ford spent $5,097 per vehicle and FCA spent $4,760.
According to Cain, GM was confident enough in its inventory levels to reduce incentive spending. As a result, Average Transaction Prices (ATPs) increased by $915 over a year earlier.
“We felt comfortable with our overall performance, especially with the new vehicles, and thought we had an opportunity to demonstrate discipline,” Cain said. “Some of our major competitors didn’t follow.”