Talk Soon? GM Hangs Up on Monthly Conference Calls
For automotive analysts and journalists, every month begins with ritual conference calls with spokespeople from GM (NYSE:GM), Ford (NYSE:F), and Toyota (NYSE:TM), among others. It’s a time to dig deeper into U.S. sales stats automakers publish. However, GM closed its first conference call of 2014 by saying it will be its last. The automaker said it will tone down its focus on the “minutiae” of a single market in order to approach company goals in a more “holistic way,” Bloomberg reports.
The first conference call with industry analysts and media of 2014 ended with the announcement by GM spokesperson Jim Cain. While reassuring participants that GM marketing reps would continue to be available following the monthly release of sales stats, Cain said the automaker was planning to focus its energies on broader strategies that emphasized the company’s long-term view.
While the move is surprising, given Ford and other leading automakers will maintain the practice of the monthly sales call, The Chrysler Group (FIATY.PK) and Honda (NYSE:HMC) don’t provide the same service to analysts and reporters. The move by GM prompted several theories as to the change in 2014.
According to The Detroit News, GM reps put the kibosh on the idea that the move had something to do with the U.S. Treasury’s exit from company ownership. Though General Motors will be the biggest automaker not participating in the calls, it may be a sign the company’s long-term strategy is targeting markets such as China, which has overtaken the U.S. as the home of the world’s biggest consumer base.
Before the news-making announcement, GM spokespeople detailed the results from December as the automaker wrapped up its best year in recent memory. Despite a 6 percent slump in December sales, GM’s four brands gained 7 percent in 2o13 over the previous year’s stats. The Chevy Malibu was up 33 percent over 2012 while the Impala posted gains of 10 percent. The new Corvette Stingray posted the Chevy sports car’s best month since 2006.
Details of this nature will continue to be available following GM’s decision to end monthly conference calls, but investors will have to wait for a slower trickle of information as it crosses the different channels following the sales reports.