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Tracking GM Global Vehicle Sales and Market Share

General Motors (NYSE:GM) is a leading automaker committed to delivering the best automobile products to the world.

GM has been actively expanding its market share not only in the U.S. but also globally by continuously rolling out new models, including electric vehicles and autonomous driving, hoping to cash in on the market shift from fossil fuel to battery electric vehicles.

From the company’s quarterly and annual financial statements, you can find tonnes of vehicle sales and market share data for all regions in the world.

These data are important and should be followed by investors who have already owned or are interested in buying GM’s stocks.

From the vehicle sales and market share data, investors can find out not only the state of the demand for GM’s products but also the growth of the company which directly correlates with the vehicle sales figures.

In this article, we will look at the numbers of GM’s vehicle sales or retail sales in 3 major regions in the world.

Aside from the vehicle sales figures, the market share data is another metric that we will track from quarter to quarter.

The market share data is important as it reveals the competitiveness of GM’s automotive products.

All said, let’s head out to the topics below.

GM’s Retail Sales And Market Share

As mentioned, this article explores General Motors’ vehicle retail sales and market share in 3 specific regions or countries and they are the United States, China and South America.

The reason that the U.S., China and South America are chosen for discussion here is that these regions contribute the biggest chunk of vehicle sales to GM.

Based on the 2020 annual filings, GM’s vehicle sales from these 3 regions alone made up roughly 87% of the company’s global retail sales.

The following snapshot shows GM’s retail sales data extracted from the 2020 annual filing:

GM vehicle sales statistics for 2020, 2019 and 2018

GM vehicle sales statistics for 2020, 2019 and 2018

As seen from the snapshot above, the majority of GM’s vehicle sales came largely from the U.S., China and South America.

GM Europe’s sales have ceased to exist after the company exited the European market in 2017.

GM’s Vehicle Sales And Revenue Recognition

Keep in mind that GM’s vehicle sales or retail sales data presented in the following charts do not translate to revenue or sales figures presented in the company’s income statement.

GM’s sales revenues presented in the income statements are recognized from only wholesale vehicle sales but not retail sales.

The retail vehicle sales data represent GM management’s good faith estimation of its market share in the respective regions.

Here is a quote from the company financial statements regarding retail vehicle sales data:

  • “While total vehicle sales data does not correlate directly to the revenue we recognize during a particular period, we believe it is indicative of the underlying demand for our vehicles.

    Total vehicle sales data represents management’s good faith estimate based on sales reported by GM’s dealers, distributors, and joint ventures, commercially available data sources such as registration and insurance data, and internal estimates and forecasts when other data is not available.”

Investors who are interested in GM’s wholesale vehicle sales that correlate with revenue recognized in the income statements can read about it here: General Motors Wholesale Vehicle Sales.

Take note that vehicle sales and retail sales are used interchangeably in this article and they represent the same thing.

GM’s Europe Vehicle Sales And Market Share

In addition, you may notice that GM Europe vehicle sales and market share data are not presented in this article.

The reason is that GM has sold off its GM Europe subsidiary in 2017 and has totally exited the European market since the sell-off.

As a result, the European vehicle sales and market share data have ceased to exist since 2017 or have been insignificant.

Let’s move on!

GM’s Vehicle Sales By Region (Yearly)

GM vehicle sales by region (yearly)

GM vehicle sales by region (yearly)

* Vehicle sales by region data is obtained directly from GM’s annual filings and does not come from restated results caused by business combinations, accounting standard changes, sales/acquisition of subsidiaries, etc.
* GM’s fiscal year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31.

Let’s first look at GM’s regional vehicle or retail sales by year for the period between FY2014 and FY2020.

According to the chart, China has been GM’s largest retail market for the past 7 years.

However, GM’s China vehicle sales topped out at 4 million units in 2017.

Since then, GM’s China vehicle sales have been going downhill in subsequent years and reached only 2.9 million units as of 2020, the lowest the company has ever reported between FY2014 and FY2020.

A similar downtrend is seen for GM’s vehicle retail sales in the U.S.

GM’s vehicle sales used to be slightly over 3 million units in the U.S.

However, that figure has dropped to only 2.5 million units as of FY2020, a year-over-year decrease of 6% from FY2019.

GM’s vehicle sales in South America had declined the most between FY2014 and FY2020.

Since FY2014, GM’s vehicle sale in South America has declined by more than 40%.

As of FY2020, GM’s South America retail sales totaled only 470,000 vehicles, the lowest the company has ever reported in the last 7 years.

GM’s Market Share By Region (Yearly)

GM market share by region (yearly)

GM market share by region (yearly)

* Market share by region data is obtained from GM’s annual filings and does not come from restated results caused by business combinations, accounting standard changes, sales/acquisition of subsidiaries, etc.
* GM’s fiscal year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31.

For GM’s market share, the company has the highest market share figure in the U.S. at 17.1% in FY2020.

Despite selling millions of vehicles in the U.S., GM’s market share in the U.S. has remained flat between FY2014 and FY2020.

While GM has been one of the U.S.’s biggest automotive players by volume, its businesses in the U.S. have not all been rosy.

For example, GM’s market share in the U.S. declined consecutively in 2 years since FY2018 to only 16.5% recorded in FY2019.

Fortunately, GM’s U.S. market share recovered to the 17% level in FY2020.

On the other hand, GM commands a market share of only 11.6% as of FY2020 in China.

While China has been GM’s largest retail market, the company’s market share in China has been on a decline in the last 8 years and reached the lowest level in FY2020 in this region.

GM’s market share in South America fares slightly better compared to that of China.

Despite selling less than half a million vehicles in South America, GM had a market share of 14.9% in this region in FY2020.

Similarly, GM’s market share in South America also has been on a decline, plunging from 16.6% in FY2014 to 14.9% in FY2020, the worst figure the company has ever reported.

GM’s Vehicle Sales In The United States (Quarterly)

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

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

* U.S. vehicle sales data is obtained from GM’s quarterly and annual filings and does not come from restated results caused by business combinations, accounting standard changes, sales/acquisition of subsidiaries, etc.
* GM’s fiscal year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31.

On a quarterly basis, GM’s vehicle sales in the U.S. have been mostly flat over the last 7 years.

Accordingly, GM delivered an average of around 700,000 vehicles on a quarterly basis in the United States.

In 3Q 2021, GM’s retail sales of 447,000 vehicles in the U.S. represent a year-on-year decline of more than 30%.

GM’s weak vehicle sales in 2021 Q3 were led by Chevrolet and Cadillac, reportedly at -36% and -32%, respectively, on a year-over-year basis.

GMC also performed quite badly in 3Q 2021, with year-over-year total retail deliveries down 27%.

GMC’s mid-size trucks and SUVs, including the Acadia, Sierra series and Terrain, performed particularly bad in 3Q 2021, with retail sales down in double-digit at more than 50%.

On the contrary, GMC’s Yukon was the only full-sized SUV that saw its retail delivery up by 24% in 3Q 2021.

Similarly, GM’s Chevrolet Silverado MD was the only SUV that performed better than the previous year, with sales up 13% year-on-year in 3Q 2021.

Unfortunately, GM’s popular Bolt EV retail sales declined 20% year-over-year in 3Q 2021 to only 4.5k units compared to 5.7k units sold a year ago.

GM’s Vehicle Sales In The United States (TTM)

GM vehicle sales in the U.S. (TTM)

GM vehicle sales in the U.S. (TTM)

* Vehicle sales shown in the chart above is presented on a TTM basis.
* TTM data consists of the sum of the quarterly data on a trailing 12-month or 4-quarter basis.

The quarterly plot may not show the trend of GM’s retail sales in the U.S.

The TTM or trailing 12-month plot above clearly displays the trend of GM’s U.S. retail volume.

As seen in the chart, GM experienced the worst decline in vehicle retail volume in the U.S. in FY2020.

GM’s U.S. retail volume declined to 2.5 million vehicles in 3Q20 but recovered slightly to 2.8 million vehicles in 2Q21.

However, as of 3Q 2021, the recovery momentum failed to pick up.

Therefore, GM’s retail sales in the U.S. reversed to only 2.5 million vehicles in 3Q 2021 on a TTM basis.

GM’s Market Share In The United States

GM market share in the U.S.

GM market share in the U.S.

* U.S. market share data is obtained directly from GM’s earnings presentation and does not come from restated results caused by business combinations, accounting standard changes, sales/acquisition of subsidiaries, etc.
* GM’s fiscal year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31.

In terms of market share in the U.S., GM’s numbers have declined to 12.8% in 3Q 2021 compared to the 16.6% market share recorded in the same quarter a year ago.

The decline of GM’s market share in the U.S. was primarily attributable to the lower retail volume of only 447K vehicles reported in 3Q 2021.

The 3Q 2021 market share result was one of the lowest figures that GM has ever reported since fiscal 2014.

GM’s Vehicle Sales YoY Growth In The United States

GM retail sales YoY growth rates in the U.S.

GM retail sales YoY growth rates in the U.S.

* Year over year growth rates are calculated by the author based on GM’s quarterly vehicle sales data obtained from the company’s earnings presentations.
* GM’s fiscal year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31.

GM’s vehicle sales in the U.S. declined 33% YoY in 3Q 2021, one of the worst figures the company has ever reported.

The decline is driven primarily by COVID disruptions as well as by the microchip crisis which has impacted not only the automotive sector but also the consumer retail sector.

GM’s Vehicle Sales In China (Quarterly)

GM vehicle sales in China (quarterly)

GM vehicle sales in China (quarterly)

* China vehicle sales data is obtained from GM’s quarterly and annual filings and does not come from restated results caused by business combinations, accounting standard changes, sales/acquisition of subsidiaries, etc.
* GM’s fiscal year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31.

China is the second most important market for GM after the U.S. but the company can only gain access to the Chinese market through joint ventures with a local Chinese automaker.

Again, GM’s vehicle sales data in the chart above do not translate to any revenue recognized in the income statement as GM does not own more than 50% of these joint ventures in China.

Moreover, these data also represent GM’s retail vehicle sales, which according to GM, do not translate to recognized revenue.

Only wholesale vehicle sales are recognized as revenue in GM’s income statements.

Here is a quote from GM’s filings regarding vehicle sales in China:

  • “The vehicle sales of our Automotive China JVs are not recorded in Total net sales and revenue. The results of our joint ventures are recorded in Equity income, which is included in EBIT-adjusted above.”

All told, GM’s vehicle sales in China rebounded significantly post fiscal 2020.

As of 3Q 2021, GM delivered another strong quarter in China, with retail sales reaching 624,000 vehicles in this quarter alone.

While GM’s vehicle deliveries had significantly recovered in fiscal 2021, the 3Q 2021 result represents a decline of 19% on a year-over-year basis.

The primary culprit in 3Q 2021 was led by Baojun which saw its year-on-year retail sales decline by as much as 60%.

GM’s other brands in China such as the Buick and Chevrolet were also experiencing a decline of more than 30% year-on-year in 3Q 2021.

GM’s Wuling was the only brand in China that saw a 12% jump in retail sales in 3Q 2021.

GM’s Vehicle Sales In China (TTM)

GM vehicle sales in China (ttm)

GM vehicle sales in China (ttm)

* Vehicle sales shown in the chart above is presented on a TTM basis.
* TTM data consists of the sum of the quarterly data on a trailing 12-month or 4-quarter basis.

From a TTM perspective, GM’s retail sales in China have trended slightly lower as of 3Q 2021, reaching 3.1 million vehicles in the same quarter.

Despite having a slight bump in 3Q 2021, the rising trend of GM’s vehicle sales in China has remained intact since fiscal 2020.

Year over year, GM’s China retail sales in 3Q 2021 gained nearly 12% higher on a TTM basis.

While GM’s vehicle sales in China have considerably recovered in fiscal 2021, they were still way off from the historical highs reported back in fiscal 2018 which clocked more than 4 million vehicles on a TTM basis.

In short, GM still has a long way to go in China.

GM’s Market Share In China

GM market share in China

GM market share in China

* China market share data is obtained from GM’s earnings presentation and does not come from restated results caused by business combinations, accounting standard changes, sales/acquisition of subsidiaries, etc.
* GM’s fiscal year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31.

Over the last 7 years, GM’s market share in China, including its brands and China affiliates, has deteriorated severely since 2018 and plunged to the lowest at only 10.8% as of 3Q 2021, despite having strong demand in the same quarter.

GM’s market share in China has maintained at this level for quite a number of quarters since 2019.

While GM’s recovery in China has been gaining momentum in recent quarters, its market share in this region has not quite improved.

If this pattern continued in subsequent quarters, it means that GM is losing market share to competitors in China.

GM’s Vehicle Sales YoY Growth In China

GM retail sales YoY growth rates in China

GM retail sales YoY growth rates in China

* Year over year growth rates are calculated by the author using GM’s quarterly vehicle sales data obtained from the company’s earnings presentations.
* GM’s fiscal year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31.

While GM’s vehicle sales in the United States have remained flat, the result was much better in the Chinese market.

In Q3 2021, GM delivered 20% fewer vehicles year-over-year in China but this figure was far lower than the rate of decline in the U.S.

Also, this was the 1st vehicle sales decline reported in China for GM after having 4 consecutive quarters of growing sales.

GM’s Vehicle Sales In South America (Quarterly)

GM vehicle sales in South America (quarterly)

GM vehicle sales in South America (quarterly)

* South America vehicle sales data is obtained from GM’s quarterly and annual filings and does not come from restated results caused by business combinations, accounting standard changes, sales/acquisition of subsidiaries, etc.
* GM’s fiscal year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31.

South America represents GM’s 3rd largest market after the U.S. and China.

In the South American market, Brazil contributed the largest sales to General Motors, at nearly 60% of total sales in the region year to date in fiscal 2021.

According to the chart, GM posted the best sales in South America in 2014 at more than 200,000 vehicles per quarter.

However, vehicle sales in South America have since declined and plunged to the lowest at only 57,000 units in 2Q 2020, disrupted mainly by the pandemic.

Subsequently, GM’s vehicle sales in South America recovered swiftly to 123,000 units in the following quarter and retail volume continued to maintain at this level moving into 2021.

In the 3rd quarter of 2021, GM’s vehicle sales in South America reached 70,000 units, a 43% decline from the same quarter a year ago.

GM used to sell close to 150k vehicles in South America on a quarterly basis back in 2014.

However, this figure has declined by more than 50% to less than 100k units per quarter as of fiscal 2021.

GM’s Vehicle Sales In South America (TTM)

GM vehicle sales in South America (TTM)

GM vehicle sales in South America (TTM)

* Vehicle sales shown in the chart above is presented on a TTM basis.
* TTM data consists of the sum of the quarterly data on a trailing 12-month or 4-quarter basis.

From a TTM perspective, GM’s South America retail sales had been the worst compared to China and the U.S.

As seen from the chart, GM’s retail volume in South America reached only 435k units as of 3Q 2021 on a TTM basis, a record low for this region.

While GM’s vehicle sales in the U.S. and China have both recovered in 2021, it was not the case for the South America region.

In South America, GM’s TTM vehicle sales continued to plunge to a new low in Q3 2021.

GM’s Market Share In South America

GM market share in South America

GM market share in South America

* South America market share data is obtained from GM’s earnings presentation and does not come from restated results caused by business combinations, accounting standard changes, sales/acquisition of subsidiaries, etc.
* GM’s fiscal year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31.

Despite suffering the worst vehicle sale in 2020, GM managed to maintain its market share at 14.6% and 14.3% in 2020 2Q and 2020 3Q, respectively.

While GM sold fewer vehicles throughout 2020 in South America, GM’s market share in the region remained relatively stable, indicating that the company can maintain its strong position in the South American market.

In FY2020, GM’s quarterly market share in South America has declined slightly compared to FY2019 for all quarters.

However, things turn for the worse in fiscal 2021 for the South America region.

Since 1Q 2021, GM’s market share in South America has been on a decline, reaching only 7.8% as of fiscal 2021 3Q, a level that has not been seen in the last 8 years.

The decline in GM’s market share in the South America region is primarily attributed to the firm’s lower vehicle sales in this region.

GM’s Total Vehicle Sales YoY Growth In South America

GM retail sales YoY growth rates in South America

GM retail sales YoY growth rates in South America

* Year over year growth rates are calculated by the author using GM’s quarterly vehicle sales data obtained from the company’s earnings presentations.
* GM’s fiscal year begins on Jan 1 and ends on Dec 31.

As of Q3 2021, GM’s vehicle sales year-on-year growth rate clocked at 43% compared to a growth of 54% in the prior quarter.

The negative growth rate recorded in Q3 2021 is one of the worst the company has ever seen.

Conclusion

To recap, GM’s retail volumes in the U.S. and China have both recovered in fiscal 2021, on a quarterly as well as TTM basis.

On the contrary, GM’s retail volume in the South America region was seen trending lower as of 3Q 2021 and all quarterly results in fiscal 2021 were lower than those reported in fiscal 2020.

While GM has only 10% of the market share in China, the firm sold more than 3 million vehicles on a TTM basis compared to only 2.5 million units sold in the U.S.

All in all, GM’s vehicle sales declined the most in South America in 3Q 2021, at 43% on a year-on-year basis while nearly the same rate was reported in the U.S. at 33%.

GM’s China sales declined the least, at only 19% in fiscal Q3 2021.

Credits and References

1. Financial figures in all charts on this webpage were obtained and referenced from General Motors’ quarterly and annual filings which can be found in the following location: GM Sec Filings.

2. Featured images in this article are used under creative commons license and sourced from the following websites: GM Europe.

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Disclosure

The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is neither a recommendation nor a piece of financial advice to purchase a stock.

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • bernard gress March 22, 2021, 9:39 pm

    Thanks for these great graphs and analysis! America is losing and in retreat on every front, it seems!

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