General Motors (GM), fresh off its initial public offering, reported today that November sales rose 11.4% compared to the same month a year ago. Among its four core brands, Buick, Cadillac, GMC and Chevrolet, GM said sales rose nearly 21%. For the month, GM reported it sold 168,739 vehicles, up from 151,427 a year ago.
The Detroit automaker, the nation's largest, said steady sales across all its division and vehicle types -- cars, trucks and utility vehicles -- drove sales for the month, with continued strong demand for its line of crossover vehicles, which include the Chevrolet Equinox and Cadillac SRX.
"Each brand came to the party in November," said Don Johnson, vice president of U.S. sales, in a statement. "These results show that our brands continue to gain momentum with consumers who want stylish, fuel-efficient vehicles."
Within its divisions, GM said Buick sales increased the most on a percentage basis, up 36% for the month, compared to November 2009. Demand for the recently redesigned Buick LaCrosse sedan remains strong with sales up 20%, said Jim Bunnell, GM's general manager for dealer networks and sales support, in a conference call with investors and media shortly after sales results were released.
A Solid Year So Far
GM's luxury division, Cadillac, and its truck brand, GMC, saw sales rise 21% and 29%, respectively, compared to a year ago. Among standout performers, GM said the Cadillac CTS sedan and SRX crossover each saw gains of at least 35%. At GMC, the midsize Terrain crossover proved popular, with sales advancing 60% compared to last year.
At Chevrolet, by far GM's largest division, overall sales grew 17.6% on strong demand for Equinox and Traverse crossovers and the Impala full-size sedan. Sales of the unit's line of pickup trucks rose 16%, but those of the popular Malibu midsized sedan advanced just 4.8%.
With just one month left in the year, GM said its sales so far in 2010 are up 6% overall, with Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac sales up 22%.
Despite stubbornly high unemployment and a depressed housing market, positive signs continue to emerge for the auto industry, Bunnell said during his comments. As the nation's fleet of vehicles ages and consumers remain cautious, pent-up demand continues to build, he said, indicating that sales could slowly pick up in the coming months as the economy improves.
GM was the first of the nation's large automakers to release November sales results Wednesday. Ford Motor (F), Chrysler Group, Toyota Motor (TM) and other manufacturers will release data later in the day.
On Tuesday, GM unveiled the final production version of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, which will begin hitting dealer showrooms in seven selected markets this month. Priced at $41,000 before federal rebates, the Volt has already racked up several industry awards including Motor Trend magazine's Car of the Year.
Shares of GM, which began trading two weeks ago, were higher in Wednesday trading. The stock was up nearly 2% at about 11 a.m. ET, to $34.80 a share.