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Chevy sales up despite drop in Cruze sales

LORDSTOWN – Despite a drop in deliveries of one of its best-selling vehicles – the locally-made Chevrolet Cruze – General Motors on Tuesday reported an 8 percent increase in full-year retail sales for 2015.

Chevrolet grew its retail market share faster than any other full-line brand in the industry and December marked the 26th consecutive month GM’s commercial deliveries were up, the company reported.

“Chevrolet is the hottest retail franchise in the strongest market we have seen in this country,” said Kurt McNeil, GM’s U.S. vice president of sales operations.

Sales of the Chevy Cruze, manufactured at the GM Assembly Plant in Lordstown, dropped 5.3 percent from 17,800 in December 2014 to 16,849 last month. For the year, 226,602 new Cruzes were sold compared to 273,060 in 2014, a drop of 17 percent.

However, company leaders have said they’re not overly concerned about the downshift as excitement builds for the next generation of the popular compact car to hit showrooms this year.

All three U.S. automakers reported gains in new vehicle sales for 2015.

Overall, GM sold 3,082,366 new vehicles last year, marking a 5 percent boost compared to 2014 sales.

Chevrolet, GM’s largest brand, posted increases in its retail sales every month since March, and the brand’s 2015 retail market share went up 0.4 percentage points compared to 2014, the largest increase of any full-line brand, according to PIN.

Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands delivered 290,230 vehicles in December with a 6 percent increase of total sales compared to the same month in 2014.

For 2015, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac dealers, with total sales up 5 percent, delivered 3.1 million vehicles.

“In a record year for the industry, GM gained significant retail market share and we grew our commercial business by 12 percent,” McNeil said.

GM’s retail deliveries have grown every month since March, driven by strong crossover and truck sales. Retail market share for 2015 is estimated to be up 0.4 percentage points, the largest increase of any automaker, according to J.D. Power PIN estimates.

The GMC brand gained 0.2 percent points of retail market share.

Combined, Chevrolet and GMC sold 1.2 million trucks in 2015, up 14 percent compared to 2014, including 939,198 pickups. GM’s retail share of the full-size pickup segment improved by more than one percentage point to 39.2 percent, according to PIN. GM’s retail share of the mid-size pickup segment is now 32.5 percent, up from less than 5 percent in 2014, the launch year for the all-new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

In the crossover market, the Chevrolet Equinox has increased its sales for seven consecutive years. Five other crossovers, the Chevrolet Traverse, the Buick Encore, the GMC Acadia and Terrain, and the Cadillac SRX had their best-ever annual sales.

“The U.S. economy continues to expand and the most important factors that drive demand for new vehicles are in place, so we expect to see a second consecutive year of record industry sales in 2016,” said Mustafa Mohatarem, GM’s chief economist. “The single most important pieces are the ongoing gains in employment and the growth in personal income. When you add in lower energy prices, it’s easy to see why consumer spending is strong.”

Ford Motor Co. reported its best December sales since 2005 with 239,242 new vehicle deliveries, an increase of 8.4 percent compared to December 2014. Ford said 2015 marked the company’s best annual sales since 2006 with 2.6 million deliveries, a 5.3 percent increase over 2014.

Fiat-Chrysler reported its sales for 2015 were up 7 percent from 2014, with 2.24 million deliveries last year. The automaker reported new vehicle sales of 217,527 for December, up 12.6 percent from the same month in 2014.

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