The Chevrolet Cruze sprinted off the 2012 starting line in January with 15,049 sales, up 10.4 percent from January 2011, General Motors Co. said this morning.
The Lordstown Complex-built compact car was GM's second-best selling car, trailing only the Chevrolet Impala's 16,009. The Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck led all GM vehicles with 26,850 sales.
Lordstown built 23,551 Cruzes versus 22,314 a year ago, GM said.
GM car sales rose 13 percent thanks to the new Chevrolet Sonic subcompact. But demand for its trucks and crossovers fell. One problem: GM is no longer making the HHR crossover, which contributed more than 7,300 sales last January.
GM also compared unfavorably to last January - overall sales dipped 6.1 percent to 167,962 - because its 2011 sales were inflated by rebates and other deals. TrueCar estimated that GM's incentives fell 16 percent to $3,095 per vehicle this January.
GM's sales will likely be down in February, too, because of the incentives it offered last year, warned Don Johnson, GM's vice president of U.S. sales.
GM could see slow sales through the first half of the year, until new models go on sale this summer, Whiston said. The company will offer two Cadillacs, a Chevrolet Malibu and the Spark mini-car.
Sales of the Chevrolet Volt electric car totaled 603. That was less than half the number sold in December and sales fell short of its rival, the Nissan Leaf.
Johnson said sales were affected by government hearings into Volt battery fires and GM's announcement that it will retrofit existing Volts so they are less prone to fires after a severe crash. The company expects sales to pick up now that GM is producing a Volt that's eligible to drive in California's high-occupancy vehicle lanes.