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Tracking GM Truck, Car and SUV Sales Numbers

GM 2021 Silverado Realtree Edition. Source: GM 1Q 2020 earnings presentation.

This article is keeping track of General Motors (NYSE:GM) truck, SUV and car sales numbers as well as market share in the United States on a quarterly basis.

The vehicle sales numbers for GM’s trucks, SUV and cars (sedans) are based on the retail sales data extracted from GM’s financial statements available from the company’s investor relationship webpage.

In general, 3 types of vehicle sales numbers and market share data are presented in this article and they are:

(1) Trucks,
(2) Cars (or Sedans), and
(3) SUVs (or Crossovers).

For your information, the retail vehicle sales data presented in this article do not correlate with GM’s recognized revenue disclosed in the income statement.

Only wholesale vehicle sales data correlates with the company’s recognized revenue in the income statement.

Readers who are interested in GM’s wholesale vehicle sales may visit this webpage: GM’s vehicle deliveries 2020.

Let’s get started!

GM’s Truck Sales Numbers in the U.S. (Quarterly)

GM truck sales in the U.S. (quarterly)

GM truck sales in the U.S. (quarterly)

Let’s first look at GM’s truck sales number which is shown in the chart above from 2017 to 2020.

According to the chart, GM’s truck sales in the U.S. have been roughly flat between 2017 and 2020.

On average, GM sold about 320,000 trucks on a quarterly basis over the last 3 years.

GM reported the worst truck sales in Q2 2020 when only 253,000 trucks were sold on a retail basis.

On the flip side, GM reported the best truck sales number in 4Q17 when more than 380,000 units were sold in that quarter alone.

GM’s truck sales recovered considerably in Q3 2020 to 319,000 vehicles, driven largely by the pandemic-induced auto demand for GM’s large pickups and SUVs.

For example, GM’s large pickup trucks, including the Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD both reported year-over-year growth rates of 9% and 11%, respectively, in 2020 3Q.

GM has also resumed most of its production lines in the U.S. by June 2020, and thus, contributed significantly to the recovery in truck sales in Q3 2020.

In short, the COVID-19 pandemic can make or break GM’s vehicle sales as seen from the dramatic changes in the truck sales numbers throughout 2020.

GM’s Truck Sales Numbers in the U.S. (TTM)

GM truck sales in the U.S. (ttm)

GM truck sales in the U.S. (ttm)

To smooth out the quarterly results, I created the trailing 12-months (TTM) plot as shown in the chart above.

The TTM plot shows a much clearer trend for GM’s truck sales in the United States.

According to the chart, GM’s truck sales have been on a decline from a TTM perspective in the last 3 years.

GM’s truck sales hit a record low at only 1.21 million units in Q3 2020, representing a year-over-year decline of 11%, despite recording better-than-expected quarterly truck sales number in the same quarter.

Throughout 2020, GM’s truck sales have been consistently declining from a TTM perspective, driven mainly by the pandemic disruption that has temporarily shuttered most of the manufacturing plants in the U.S.

If not for the V-shape recovery in Q3 2020 driven by the pandemic-induced auto demand for trucks, GM’s truck sales would have been a lot worse than the present result.

GM’s SUV Sales Numbers in the U.S. (Quarterly)

GM SUV sales in the U.S. (quarterly)

GM SUV sales in the U.S. (quarterly)

In terms of crossover or SUVs sales in the U.S., GM’s quarterly results have been on an uptrend between 2017 and 2020.

For instance, GM sold more SUVs or crossovers in 2019/2020 than in 2017.

That said, 2019 was the best year for GM when the company reported 4 consecutive quarters of increasing SUVs sales and the number hit a record high by 4Q 2019 at more than 300,000 units of SUVs.

On average, GM sold about 260,000 SUVs or crossovers in the U.S. on a quarterly basis in the last 3 years.

In 1Q 2020, GM’s SUVs or crossovers sales dived significantly to only 254,000 vehicles.

The decline further deteriorated in Q2 2020 when only 202,000 SUVs were sold, a record low for GM.

However, GM’s SUV sales recovered dramatically in 2020 3Q when the company reported sales totaling more than 284,000 SUVs.

Again, GM SUV sales recovery in Q3 2020 has been largely driven by the COVID-19 induced demand for large and full-sized SUVs and Crossovers, including the Chevrolet Blazer, Chevrolet Trailblazer, Buick Encore GX and the Cadillac XT6.

For instance, GM’s Chevrolet Blazer sales were up 45% year over year in 3Q20 – its best quarter ever.

GM’s SUV Sales Numbers in the U.S. (TTM)

GM SUV sales in the U.S. (ttm)

GM SUV sales in the U.S. (ttm)

GM’s SUV and crossover sales in the U.S. were much resilient, recording 1.062 million and 1.047 million units sold in 2Q20 and 3Q20, respectively, on a TTM basis.

From a TTM perspective, GM’s retail sales for SUVs or crossovers in both 2Q and 3Q 2020 were still on a decline year on year even though the quarterly figures show otherwise.

Prior to 2020 or during the pre-pandemic period, GM’s SUV sales had actually been trending upward as seen from the chart.

For example, GM reported the highest SUV sales in the U.S. in 4Q19 at nearly 1.2 million units, a growth of more than 20% from the 4Q17 quarter or 2 years ago.

GM’s SUV sales in the U.S. in 3Q20 would have been much worse if not for the unexpected recovery in the same quarter, driven mainly by the pandemic induced SUV and crossovers demand.

Similarly, GM delivered 45% more Cadillac XT6, a mid-size SUV, in Q3 2020 compared to a year ago.

Strong sales growth was also seen for the Buick Envision, a compact SUV, in which the respective retail sales were up 44% year over year in 3Q20.

GM’s Car Sales Numbers in the U.S. (Quarterly)

GM car sales in the U.S. (quarterly)

GM car sales in the U.S. (quarterly)

GM’s car sales or sedan sales in the U.S. have been devastating in the last 3 years, with the worst retail sales reported in 2020 Q2 at only 37,000 units.

However, GM’s car or sedan sales in the U.S. recovered slightly in 2020 Q3 to 62,000 units.

While GM’s sedan sales may have improved in 3Q 2020, the result was still 25% lower compared to the same quarter a year ago.

Sequentially, GM’s sedan sales improved by more than 67% in 2020 Q3.

Year over year, most of GM’s high-end sedans sales, including the Chevrolet Malibu and Chevrolet Impala plunged 21.5% and 80%, respectively, in 2020 Q3.

GM’s Car Sales Numbers in the U.S. (TTM)

GM car sales in the U.S. (ttm)

GM car sales in the U.S. (ttm)

The TTM plot above clearly shows the long-term trend of GM’s sedan sales in the U.S.

In this aspect, a downtrend is clearly observed in the plot above.

While GM’s car sales may have recovered in Q3 2020 on a sequential basis, the TTM plot shows an opposite result in which only 254,000 sedans were delivered for the past 12 months, a record low for the company.

Comparatively, GM’s car sales in 3Q 2020 plunged more than 40% from a TTM standpoint.

Again, GM’s car sales in the U.S. have been the worst among the 3 types of vehicle sales over the last 3 years.

GM’s Truck, SUV and Car Market Share in the U.S.

GM's truck, SUV and car market share in the U.S.

GM’s truck, SUV and car market share in the U.S.

The chart above shows GM’s market share by vehicle type in the United States between 2018 and 2020.

As the chart shows, the market share is categorized by vehicle types which are trucks, cars and crossovers.

Besides, you may notice that the market share data dated as far back as only 2018.

The short duration is due to certain industry vehicles being reclassified among the vehicle segments starting 2019, and GM has only recast data dated as far back as 2018 to reflect the changes.

As a result, the comparison in market share among the vehicle segments prior to 2018 was meaningless as it is not an apple to apple comparison for data before and after 2018.

For this reason, I have shown only the market share date dated as far back as 2018.

As seen from the chart, GM’s quarterly truck market share in the United States has not seen much change from 2018 to 2020, with an average figure of around 31% over the last 2 years.

While GM may have seen improved truck sales in Q3 2020, the respective market share remained more or less the same at 30%.

In terms of crossover or SUV market share in the U.S., GM’s number has also been quite stable since 2018, with an average figure of 13.5%.

GM’s crossover market share improved slightly to 13.8% in 3Q 2020 due mainly to the V-shape recovery in SUV sales in the same quarter.

GM’s market share for sedans in the U.S. has declined the most, plunging from an average quarterly number of 10% in 2018 to only 7% as of Q3 2020.

However, the 3Q 2020 result represents an improvement from the prior quarter in which a market share of 5.5% was recorded.

GM’s Trucks Sales Year On Year Growth Rates

GM truck sales YoY growth rates

GM truck sales YoY growth rates

The chart above shows GM’s U.S. truck sales year over year (YoY) growth rate between 2018 and 2020.

Based on the chart, GM’s trucks sales YoY growth rates in the U.S. have been mostly negative over the past 2 years, with only 3 out of the 11 quarters showing positive growth rates during the shown period.

On average, GM’s truck sales in the U.S. were -2.7% between 2018 and 2020 for the past 11 quarters.

In 3Q 2020, GM reported a year-over-year decline of 10.6% for truck sales in the U.S.

The 2020 Q3 result was much better than the prior quarter which reported a YoY growth rate of -28.9%.

GM’s SUV Sales Year On Year Growth Rates

GM SUV sales YoY growth rates

GM SUV sales YoY growth rates

For GM’s SUV sales, the results were slightly better than truck sales for the past 2 years.

Between 2018 and 2020, GM had only 4 quarters of negative growth rates out of 11 quarters for SUVs or crossover sales in the U.S.

On average, GM actually generated an average growth rate of 4% for SUV sales in the U.S.

In other words, GM’s SUV or crossover sales in the U.S. grew slightly at 4% on a quarterly basis between 2018 and 2020.

While year on year growth was positive on average, GM suffered the worst decline in YoY growth throughout 2020 for SUV retail sales.

Year to date, GM reported 3 consecutive quarters of negative growth rates in 2020, with 2Q 2020 being the worst performer at -28.9%.

In 3Q 2020, GM’s SUV growth rate improved considerably to -5% compared to the prior quarter.

GM’s Cars Sales Year On Year Growth Rates

GM car sales YoY growth rates

GM car sales YoY growth rates

GM’s cars or sedans sales in the U.S. from 2018 to 2020 has been downright a disaster as seen from all the negative growth rates in the chart.

To make matter worse, GM’s declining car sales has worsened from 2019 to 2020 when year on year growth rates exceeded -30%, reaching as low as -65% in 2Q 2020.

In 2020 Q3, GM’s car or sedan sales improved slightly to -25%.

However, the 2020 Q3 result was still devastating considering that the decline was more than 20% year over year.

In short, GM’s sedans sales in the U.S. have been the worst offender among all vehicle types in terms of year over year growth rates.

GM’s car segment had an average YoY growth rate of -31% compared to other vehicle segments’ average growth rates of -2.7% and 4% for trucks and crossovers, respectively.

Summary

In summary, we are seeing a recovery in all vehicle sales in the U.S. in 2020 3Q compared to the prior quarter.

The recovery is much better for GM’s trucks and SUVs in which the respective sales figures were nearly normalized to the pre-pandemic level.

The COVID-19 pandemic has induced a greater demand for GM’s truck and SUV in particular.

Consumers see these vehicle types as a safe space for both local and long-distance trips as trucks and SUVs provide not only safe transportation but also hauling capabilities.

As such, we may see a further upside in GM’s truck and SUV sales for the rest of 2020 and possibly into 2021.

References and Credits

1. Financial data and numbers in all charts and tables in this article were obtained and referenced from General Motors’ financial statements available in GM quarterly earning release.

2. Featured images in this article are obtained from the following source: GM Q1 2020 results.

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