General Motors Sales Slump 6 Percent to End a Banner 2013

Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mkumm/

There were countless highlights for General Motors (NYSE:GM) in 2013, but December wasn’t a month to remember. The leading U.S. automaker reported a 6.3 percent drop in U.S. sales compared to December 2012 as every brand under the GM banner fell. Company officials shrugged off the slump and pointed to the robust 7 percent growth GM posted overall in 2013 while Chrysler (FIATY.PK) and Ford (NYSE:F) both showed strength at the year’s end.

By year’s end, GM sold 2,786,078 vehicles in 2013, which amounts to a 7.3 percent increase over the automaker’s performance in 2012. Introductions of the all-new Chevy Silverado, Chevy Impala, and (especially) the Chevy Corvette were largely successful. However, in a December, when the industry posted a 4 percent increase in sales, GM was left behind by U.S. and foreign competition.

The Chevrolet brand took the worst hit for GM, as its biggest brand dropped 8.1 percent in December compared to 2012. Buick also had a forgettable month, with sales falling 6.6 percent compared to December 2o12, and GMC and Cadillac posted losses of 1.8 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

Nonetheless, there were a few bright spots for General Motors in December.

According to GM sales stats, the Chevy Corvette had its best month of sales since 2006 in yet another sign its redesigned sports car is worth the time and money the company invested in it. Otherwise, GM’s star performer was the midsize Chevy Malibu that posted sales gains of 33 percent in December when matched against 2012 numbers. The highly lauded 2014 Impala also gained 10 percent in December.

Among the Detroit automakers once known as the Big Three, Chrysler was the top performer in December with sales gains of 6 percent, while Ford managed to stay in the black with an increase of 1.8 percent over sales in December 2012. Chrysler’s Jeep brand was the biggest winner for the automaker that’s majority-owned by Fiat.

Volkswagen (VLKAY.PK) was the biggest loser with respect to U.S. sales in December. The German company watched sales plummet 23 percent on American shores when matched against December 2012. Toyota (NYSE:TM), the Japanese automaker with which GM vies for world leader in auto sales, saw losses of 1.7 percent in the U.S. when matched against 2012 figures.

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