GM was forced to cut production due to the global computer chip shortage in the second quarter while its GMC and Chevrolet divisions had among the industry’s skimpiest inventories, as did all of GM’s trucks and full-size SUVs, according to a recent Cox Automotive analysis. However, GM was able to post sales increases for its most profitable truck and SUV models while also pushing average transaction prices to record highs. Meanwhile, GM slashed incentive spending across the board.
Here are data points from Cox Automotive on GM’s second-quarter market performance in the U.S., where the company derives the bulk of its profits:
Sales and Market Share
GM’s U.S. sales rose 40% in Q2 to 683,696 vehicles. GM underperformed the total market, which had a 50% sales increase. That put GM’s market share at 15.5%, down from 16.6% from a year ago and its lowest for any second quarter since at least 2015 when it was 18%.
Chevrolet sales rose 30% to 428,615 vehicles sold, its second-lowest volume in the past six years. Chevrolet’s market share fell to 9.7% from 11.1% a year ago and its six-year high of 12.6% in 2015.
GM’s biggest percentage sales increases were on low-volume models. The Bolt EV saw a 335% sales increase to its highest volume ever in a second quarter at 10,857 units, with heavy incentives. Corvette sales rose 224% to 7,971 units, its highest since 2016. Corvette production has been in fits and starts since the newest version was introduced. The higher volume Trailblazer and Traverse also had triple-digit sales gains.
Though inventories were skimpy throughout the quarter, Chevrolet had big gains for the full-size SUVs, Suburban – up 90% – and Tahoe – up 74%. Sales of the big utilities weren’t as high as in 2019 but beat every other second quarter back to 2015. Sales of the full-size Silverado pickup, also in short supply during the quarter, were up 34% to their highest level in any second quarter from 2015.
Not surprisingly, other models that had extremely limited production and low inventories, including the Camaro and midsize Colorado pickup truck had significant sales declines.
Cadillac sales rose a healthy 55% to 36,129 vehicles, roughly aligned to the market increase, but that was still the second-lowest in the past six years. Its share was flat at .8%.
The profit-generating Escalade and Escalade ESV had triple-digit sales gains despite puny inventories throughout the quarter. So did the CT4, which had production cut during the quarter. The XT5 was Cadillac’s volume leader with 10,573 sales in the quarter, up 83%.
GMC and Buick had their highest sales in at least six years for the quarter.
Buick sales rose 86% to 65,927 vehicles, lifting share up to 1.5% from 1.2% a year ago. Buick basically sells only three vehicles, as it shifts to an all-SUV brand. The Buick Enclave carried the load, doubling sales to 15,096 units and returning the model to its 2019 sales level. The relatively new Encore GX also nearly doubled sales to 26,244 units. The longer Encore GX is stealing sales from the standard-issue Encore which had sales down 10% from a year ago but were half what they were in 2019. Encore GX sales surpassed those of the Encore in any second quarter since 2015.
GMC sales rose 50% to 153,025 vehicles, allowing the brand to maintain its 3.5% market share. Every GMC model posted a sales increase. The high-profit Yukon and Yukon XL had triple-digit sales gains. The full-size Sierra pickup truck remained the brand’s volume leader with sales up 40% despite low inventories. Even the midsize Canyon pickup, which had production cut in the quarter, eked out an increase.
GM slashed Q2 incentive spending by 23% compared to a year ago when it kicked off the quarter with its successful zero percent, 84-month financing on its popular pickup trucks. GM’s incentives amounted to an average of $4,416 per vehicle in Q2, its lowest amount in three years.
Every brand reduced incentive spending. Buick cut by 13% for an average of $5,221. Cadillac and Chevrolet decreased them by 22%. Cadillac’s average incentive was $6,136; Chevrolet’s was $4,212. GMC slashed incentives by 33% to an average of $4,234.
Average Transaction Prices
GM’s Q2 average transaction prices (ATP) climbed 10% to $47,977, a new record by $4,400.
Cadillac had the highest increase, up 15% to $67,488, a record, beating the previous record in 2019 by about $7,000. Cadillac brand got a big boost from the Escalade and Escalade ESV, each of which surpassed the $100,000 mark for the first time in a second quarter.
Chevrolet’s ATP rose 11% to $45,083, its highest ever for the quarter. The Corvette hit its highest ATP for a second quarter at $82,489. The Tahoe had the biggest gain, up 15% to a record $64,663. The Suburban gained 9% to $69,270.
GMC had a 9% increase in ATP to $56,986, its highest level yet for a second quarter by more than $4,000. GMC’s highest price, biggest profit models led. The Yukon had a 14% increase to $76,118, its highest for the quarter by about $10,000. The Yukon XL gained 12% to $79,111, its highest by about $9,000. The high-volume Sierra pickup truck had a 6% increase in ATP to $62,462, its highest by about $4,000.
Buick’s ATP was $35,183, which was 3% above 2020 but below 2017 to 2019. Buick’s highest-priced models, the Enclave and Envision, had higher ATPs.