Re: Businessweek: Profit Goal Means Fixing ‘Critical’ Sedans

Interesting article in Business Week on GM’s moves to adjust inventory levels on the Malibu and CTS.  I had noted when we looked at the monthly Sales Reports that CTS sales continue to be muted.   I suspect that some previous CTS buyers are going into the new SRX.  But the CTS still needs to hold up its sales numbers.  Especially troubling is that the CTS sales include the new CTS Sport Wagon, so they should not only be up but up nicely with the new model out.

The CTS sedan was released in 2007 as a 2008 model, so the current model is 3 years old (2010 models are on the lots now).

The CTS Coupe is set to arrive this summer, in both V6 and CTS-V Coupe forms.  That should boost sales for the CTS nicely, but it will also take away from sales of the CTS sedan, and CTS-V sedan as some sedan customers select Coupes instead.

From the article:

Malibu and CTS inventory reached a five-month supply in late 2009, more than double the industry average of roughly two months, Reuss said. The CTS was priced too high against models such as Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s 3-Series, he said.

GM slashed CTS prices this week by as much as $3,000, said Steve Shannon, executive director of marketing for Cadillac. One popular version was pared to $39,990 from $42,255, with monthly lease payments dropping to $369 from $417, he said. BMW’s U.S. Web site advertises 3-Series leases for as low as $379.

Adjusting the price of the CTS to make it more attractive in the market place makes terrific sense to me.  AND it makes it a great time to buy a new CTS.

I am also concerned that GM / Cadillac advertising & marketing seems very sequential.  In other words they focus on one model at a time — right now the SRX.  Almost all the media I see are for the SRX.  No CTS ads, limited Sport Wagon ads, no Escalade ads.  Cadillac needs to find a way to ‘up’ all their vehicles, not just the flavor of the month:

Here’s the new 2010 SRX and it joins the award winning CTS Sedan and the new CTS Sport Wagon in the Cadillac luxury performance stable!

Introducing new models or having specific models is good but you have to also highlight your entire line.  Perhaps one of the reasons some Cadillac models are languishing (thinking STS and XLR but DTS as well) is that you can’t even find them mentioned in current Cadillac media outside of the website.

Original article: GM Meeting Whitacre Profit Goal Means Fixing ‘Critical’ Sedans – BusinessWeek.

2010 Cadillac SRX leads sales in December 2009

December 2009 US Sales for Cadillac were up 11.4%, mostly on the continued strength of the new 2010 Cadillac SRX sales.

  • Cadillac retail sales were up 7 percent, led by the 2010 SRX, with sales 357 percent higher than a year ago (4,880 vs. 1,069)

Cadillac car sales were down 10%, truck sales were up 37% compared to 2008.  Note the quote above relates to retail sales only; so non-retail sales or rental fleet & professional sales were included in the total Cadillac numbers.

Cadillac needs the XTS and CTS Coupe / V Coupe to hurry to market!

Buick sales meanwhile were up 37.4%, split out 21% for cars and a striking 65% for Buick trucks.  Buick still has a long way to go — they should outsell Cadillac during each period.

Here are the Buick / Cadillac figures:

UPDATE: figures by models:

Wow — The SRX outsold the CTS in December:


December
(Calendar Year-to-Date)

January – December

2009 2008 % Chg Volume %Chg per S/D
2009 2008 %Chg Volume
Selling Days (S/D) 28 26






LaCrosse 4,581 1,451 215.7 193.2
27,818 36,873 -24.6
Lucerne 2,207 4,151 -46.8 -50.6
31,292 54,930 -43.0
Buick Total 6,788 5,602 21.2 12.5
59,110 91,803 -35.6
CTS 4,180 4,396 -4.9 -11.7
38,817 58,774 -34.0
DTS 1,901 1,812 4.9 -2.6
17,330 30,479 -43.1
STS 360 907 -60.3 -63.1
6,037 14,790 -59.2
XLR 43 99 -56.6 -59.7
787 1,250 -37.0
Cadillac Total 6,484 7,214 -10.1 -16.5
62,971 105,293 -40.2


December (Calendar Year-to-Date)
January – December

2009 2008 % Chg Volume %Chg per S/D
2009 2008 %Chg Volume
Selling Days (S/D) 28 26






Enclave 5,449 3,290 65.6 53.8
43,150 44,706 -3.5
Rainier 0 2 ***.* ***.*
4 117 -96.6
Rendezvous 0 3 ***.* ***.*
9 27 -66.7
Terraza 0 12 ***.* ***.*
33 544 -93.9
Buick Total 5,449 3,307 64.8 53.0
43,196 45,394 -4.8
Escalade 2,137 2,802 -23.7 -29.2
16,873 23,947 -29.5
Escalade ESV 875 1,226 -28.6 -33.7
6,588 11,054 -40.4
Escalade EXT 263 592 -55.6 -58.7
2,423 4,709 -48.5
SRX 4,986 1,401 255.9 230.5
20,237 16,156 25.3
Cadillac Total 8,261 6,021 37.2 27.4
46,121 55,866 -17.4

Totals by Brand:

*S/D Curr: 28 December



(Calendar Year-to-Date)







January – December

*S/D Prev: 26 2009 2008 % Chg Volume %Chg per S/D
2009 2008 %Chg Volume
Vehicle Total 208,511 221,983 -6.1 -12.8
2,084,492 2,980,688 -30.1
Core Brand Total 193,824 189,618 2.2 -5.1
1,815,806 2,476,483 -26.7
Non-Core Brand Total 14,687 32,365 -54.6 -57.9
268,686 504,205 -46.7
Light Vehicle Total 207,538 220,030 -5.7 -12.4
2,071,749 2,954,819 -29.9
Car Total 79,417 87,506 -9.2 -15.7
874,270 1,257,481 -30.5
Light Truck Total 128,121 132,524 -3.3 -10.2
1,197,479 1,697,338 -29.4
Truck Total ** 129,094 134,477 -4.0 -10.9
1,210,222 1,723,207 -29.8
GM Vehicle Deliveries by Marketing Division
2009 2008 %Chg Volume %Chg per S/D
2009 2008 %Chg Volume

*S/D Curr: 28 December (Calendar Year-to-Date) January –  December
GM Vehicle Deliveries by Marketing Division
2009 2008 %Chg Volume %Chg per S/D 2009 2008 %Chg Volume
Buick Total 12237 8909 37.4 27.5 102306 137197 -25.4
Cadillac Total 14745 13235 11.4 3.5 109092 161159 -32.3
GM Car Deliveries by Marketing Division
2009 2008 %Chg Volume %Chg per S/D 2009 2008 %Chg Volume
Buick Total 6788 5602 21.2 12.5 59110 91803 -35.6
Cadillac Total 6484 7214 -10.1 -16.5 62971 105293 -40.2
GM Light Truck Deliveries by Marketing Division
2009 2008 %Chg Volume %Chg per S/D 2009 2008 %Chg Volume
Buick Total 5449 3307 64.8 53 43196 45394 -4.8
Cadillac Total 8261 6021 37.2 27.4 46121 55866 -17.4

Press Release:

  • Highlights:

    • Retail Sales of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac Up 13 Percent
    • GM Retail Market Share Increased Two Share Points in Q4 vs. Q3
    • U.S. Dealer Inventory Reaches 385,000 – Lowest Year-End Level on Record

    * Twenty-eight selling days (S/D) for the December period this year and twenty-six for last year.**Effective August 2007, GM includes GMC & Chevrolet dealer deliveries of commercial vehicles distributed by American Isuzu Motors, Inc.

    -29.4

    DETROIT – GM dealers in the U.S. reported 160,996 retail deliveries in December – a 7 percent increase compared to last year, and a 50 percent increase over last month. Retail sales of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands were 146,419 – up 13 percent for the month. In total, GM dealers in the U.S. delivered 208,511 vehicles in December. This represents a total sales decline of 6 percent from the previous year, driven primarily by declines in fleet sales (33 percent) and in sales of non-core brands (55 percent).

    “The fact that our retail market share has increased two full points from the third to fourth quarters demonstrates that we are strengthening our brands,” said Susan Docherty, GM vice president, U.S. Sales. “We are delivering a healthier sales mix and earning consumer confidence through our launch vehicles such as Chevy Equinox and Camaro, Buick LaCrosse, GMC Terrain and Cadillac SRX.”

    In 2009, GM dealers delivered 2,084,492 vehicles, down 30 percent compared with 2008. “The year-over-year comparison reflects a 38 percent reduction in fleet, reduced overall incentive spending and the orderly wind-down of the Pontiac and Saturn brands,” Docherty said. “Our sell-down of Pontiac and Saturn inventory is 10 months ahead of schedule and we only have about 1,700 vehicles left – 800 Pontiacs and 900 Saturns. This shows real progress in our action plans.”

    Other December Key Facts:

    • Retail sales of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands were 13 percent higher than in 2008 –  achieved with 47 percent less inventory than last year
    • Chevrolet retail sales were up 14 percent – driven by strong sales of Camaro (7,518 sales – segment leader for fifth straight month), Traverse (up 92 percent), Malibu (up 34 percent) and Equinox (up 137 percent)
    • Buick retail sales were up 32 percent compared with a year ago on the continued strength of LaCrosse (up 370 percent) and Enclave (up 37 percent)
    • GMC retail sales were up 4 percent vs. December 2008 on strong Acadia sales (up 49 percent) and Terrain (up 197 percent vs. the vehicle it replaced, Pontiac Torrent)
    • Cadillac retail sales were up 7 percent, led by the 2010 SRX, with sales 357 percent higher than a year ago (4,880 vs. 1,069)
    • December month-end dealer inventory of 385,000 – the lowest year-end level on record
    • Total GM crossover retail sales were up 67 percent

    “The year 2009 was a watershed year for us in many ways. From our dealer restructuring to our focus on Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC, we have made the difficult but necessary decisions to position our new company for success,” Docherty added. “We’re looking forward to 2010 as a year when the economy continues a modest recovery, industry sales begin to improve and our outstanding new products build additional sales momentum.”

    “May the Best Car Win” Campaign – 60-Day Money Back Guarantee

    GM’s 60-day money-back guarantee and “May the Best Car Win” message demonstrated confidence in Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac and improved consumer consideration.

    “Americans have given our cars, crossovers and trucks a strong vote of confidence, and we take that very seriously,” Docherty said. “We’ve listened to those who’ve returned their vehicles to help us continue designing and building products our customers deserve.”

    More than 419,000 vehicles have been sold during the campaign and results show that almost all customers chose to keep their vehicles. Just 310 customers have returned their vehicles – approximately 0.007 percent of all eligible vehicles sold.

    Other Brands Sold 14,687 Total Vehicles in December

    GM’s wind-down of non-core brands has been orderly and is now 10 months ahead of schedule. These brands represented 9 percent of retail sales in December, compared with 15 percent in May 2009. Inventories for the combined brands totaled 5,123 units at December month-end, representing a 95 percent decrease compared to the end of May 2009 (112,141 units).

    Month-End Inventories of Non-Core Brands (May – Dec, 2009):

    May 2009 Dec 2009 % Reduction
    Pontiac 70,876 796 99 %
    Saturn 32,647 916 97 %
    Saab 4,579 1,235 73 %
    HUMMER 4,039 2,176 46 %

    Management Discussion of December Sales Results

    “Increasingly, we are seeing signs of a global economic recovery,” said Mike DiGiovanni, executive director, Global Market and Industry Analysis. “In the U.S., with firm used car prices, low interest rates and an improving economic outlook we expect industry sales to improve after a dismal 2009 performance.”

    U.S. Economy

    • Overall, economic leading indicators point to a continuing recovery in 2010, although risks remain.
    • Job losses slowed significantly in November, and the unemployment rate dropped from 10.2% to 10%. However, this is still high by historical standards.
    • Although consumer confidence improved in December to the second highest level in 2009, it is likely to stay tepid due to the high unemployment rate.
    • Housing market is mixed. Although existing home sales are surging, new home sales and home prices have softened recently.
    • Manufacturing sector continues to expand due to depleted inventory and better than expected holiday sales.

    U. S. Auto Industry

    • The U.S. December 2009 SAAR is estimated to be approximately the same as November – 11.0 to 11.2 million (total industry estimate) – resulting in total vehicle sales of 10.6 million for the entire 2009 CY, the lowest since 1982.
    • Based on the strengthening U.S. economy, 2010 CY sales are projected to rise to between 11.0 to 12.0 million.

    GM North America Production

    Units 000s Car Truck Total
    2009 December 67 112 179
    Units O/(U) prior year (38) (32) (70)
    % change O/(U) prior year (36%) (22%) (28%)
    2009 Q4 236 382 618
    Units O/(U) prior year (129) (68) (197)
    % change O/(U) prior year (35%) (15%) (24%)
    2010 Q1 237 413 650
    Units O/(U) prior year 121 158 279
    % change O/(U) prior year 104% 62% 75%

    GM U.S. Dealer Inventory

    Units 000s Car Truck Total
    January 4, 2010 149 236 385
    Units O/(U) prior year (248) (239) (487)
    % change O/(U) prior year (63%) (50%) (56%)
    Units O/(U) prior month (20) (34) (53)
    % change O/(U) prior month (12%) (12%) (12%)
    January 2, 2009 397 475 872
    December 1, 2009 168 270 438

*S/D Curr: 28 December (Calendar Year-to-Date)
January –  December
*S/D Prev: 26 2009 2008 % Chg Volume %Chg per S/D 2009 2008 %Chg Volume
Vehicle Total 208,511 221,983 -6.1 -12.8 2,084,492 2,980,688 -30.1
Core Brand Total 193,824 189,618 2.2 -5.1 1,815,806 2,476,483 -26.7
Non-Core Brand Total 14,687 32,365 -54.6 -57.9 268,686 504,205 -46.7
Light Vehicle Total 207,538 220,030 -5.7 -12.4 2,071,749 2,954,819 -29.9
Car Total 79,417 87,506 -9.2 -15.7 874,270 1,257,481 -30.5
Light Truck Total 128,121 132,524 -3.3 -10.2 1,197,479 1,697,338 -29.4
Truck Total ** 129,094 134,477 -4.0 -10.9 1,210,222 1,723,207 -29.8
GM Vehicle Deliveries by Marketing Division
2009 2008 %Chg Volume %Chg per S/D 2009 2008 %Chg Volume
Buick Total 12,237 8,909 37.4 27.5 102,306 137,197 -25.4
Cadillac Total 14,745 13,235 11.4 3.5 109,092 161,159 -32.3
Chevrolet Total 135,622 137,691 -1.5 -8.5 1,344,629 1,801,131 -25.3
GMC Total 31,220 29,783 4.8 -2.7 259,779 376,996 -31.1
Core Brand Total 193,824 189,618 2.2 -5.1 1,815,806 2,476,483 -26.7
HUMMER Total 325 2,170 -85.0 -86.1 9,046 27,485 -67.1
Pontiac Total 8,410 16,446 -48.9 -52.5 178,300 267,348 -33.3
Saab Total 868 1,179 -26.4 -31.6 8,680 21,368 -59.4
Saturn Total 5,084 12,570 -59.6 -62.4 72,660 188,004 -61.4
Non-Core Brand Total 14,687 32,365 -54.6 -57.9 268,686 504,205 -46.7
GM Vehicle Total 208,511 221,983 -6.1 -12.8 2,084,492 2,980,688 -30.1
GM Car Deliveries by Marketing Division
2009 2008 %Chg Volume %Chg per S/D 2009 2008 %Chg Volume
Buick Total 6,788 5,602 21.2 12.5 59,110 91,803 -35.6
Cadillac Total 6,484 7,214 -10.1 -16.5 62,971 105,293 -40.2
Chevrolet Total 53,599 54,871 -2.3 -9.3 545,961 715,193 -23.7
Car Core Brand Total 66,871 67,687 -1.2 -8.3 668,042 912,289 -26.8
Pontiac Total 8,165 14,381 -43.2 -47.3 168,662 246,659 -31.6
Saab Total 786 804 -2.2 -9.2 6,462 17,708 -63.5
Saturn Total 3,595 4,634 -22.4 -28.0 31,104 80,825 -61.5
Car Non-Core Brand Total 12,546 19,819 -36.7 -41.2 206,228 345,192 -40.3
GM Car Total 79,417 87,506 -9.2 -15.7 874,270 1,257,481 -30.5
GM Light Truck Deliveries by Marketing Division
2009 2008 %Chg Volume %Chg per S/D 2009 2008 %Chg Volume
Buick Total 5,449 3,307 64.8 53.0 43,196 45,394 -4.8
Cadillac Total 8,261 6,021 37.2 27.4 46,121 55,866 -17.4
Chevrolet Total 81,530 81,862 -0.4 -7.5 792,651 1,075,326 -26.3
GMC Total 30,740 28,788 6.8 -0.8 253,053 361,739 -30.0
Truck Core Brand Total 125,980 119,978 5.0 -2.5 1,135,021 1,538,325 -26.2
HUMMER Total 325 2,170 -85.0 -86.1 9,046 27,485 -67.1
Pontiac Total 245 2,065 -88.1 -89.0 9,638 20,689 -53.4
Saab Total 82 375 -78.1 -79.7 2,218 3,660 -39.4
Saturn Total 1,489 7,936 -81.2 -82.6 41,556 107,179 -61.2
Truck Non-Core Brand Total 2,141 12,546 -82.9 -84.2 62,458 159,013 -60.7
GM Light Truck Total 128,121 132,524 -3.3 -10.2 1,197,479 1,697,338

GM Announces Third Quarter Global Sales of 2.1 Million Vehicles, Setting Records in Two Regions

* Chevrolet posts growth in emerging markets, sales up 3 percent outside North America
* Cadillac sales outside North America up 16.3 percent

DETROIT – Record-setting sales performance in GM’s Latin America, Africa and Middle East and Asia Pacific regions during the third quarter of 2008 helped General Motors sell more than 2.1 million vehicles globally during the third quarter 2008. Compared with the third quarter of 2007, GM’s total sales were down 11.4 percent, reflecting continuing economic pressures in the U.S. market, which pushed North America sales down 18.9 percent, and growing pressure in Europe, where sales were down 12.3 percent. Sales of 1.286 million vehicles outside the U.S. accounted for nearly 61 percent of GM’s total global sales volume compared with just over 56 percent a year ago.

GM sold 6.7 million vehicles in the first nine months of 2008. Sales outside of North America grew by 164,000 vehicles during the same period. On a year-over-year basis, GM total global sales were down 5.8 percent for the first nine months of 2008, again, largely reflecting the economic pressures of the U.S. and Western European markets.

GM Continues Growth in Emerging Markets

“The recent challenges in the global financial markets, including credit tightening and the drop in commodity prices, have negatively impacted market demand. However, our sales performance shows that we are continuing to take advantage of new emerging market opportunities and are meeting customer needs with fuel-efficient products that offer compelling design and great value,” Jonathan Browning, vice president, global sales, service and marketing, said today.

“Our sales performance during the third quarter saw increases by Chevrolet outside North America and Wuling and GM Daewoo regionally,” Browning added.

Chevrolet sales in Asia Pacific, the industry’s second-largest region, grew 5.3 percent compared with the third quarter a year ago. Chevrolet sales in China (up 4.3 percent) and India (up 4.9 percent) powered much of this growth. The Wuling brand continued strong growth in China with sales up 21.9 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period a year ago.

In the Latin America, Africa and Middle East region – a traditional Chevrolet stronghold – sales grew 3.4 percent compared with the third quarter 2007. Chevrolet accounted for 90 percent of GM’s third quarter sales in the region.

Chevrolet sales in Europe also contributed to the brand’s solid third-quarter results, growing 2.7 percent. Chevrolet is seeing strong growth in emerging markets including Eastern Europe. Chevrolet was up 6.2 percent for the first nine months of the year in Russia. In addition, Opel sales in Russia increased by 39 percent, while Saab increased 90.4 percent.

Chevrolet sales in North America were down 16.6 percent; however, GM added production capacity to satisfy the strong demand for the all-new Malibu sedan.

Sales of Cadillac outside of the United States grew 10.7 percent in the third quarter, supported by strong growth of the brand in Latin America, Africa and Middle East (up 10 percent) and Asia Pacific (up 39.2 percent). Cadillac sales in Europe were down 9.3 percent. In North America, Cadillac sales declined about 28 percent, largely reflecting the negative impact of the financing environment in the luxury vehicle market.