GM Deliveries Down 20%; Ramps Up EV Production

DETROIT, Mich. — General Motors Co. sold 512,846 vehicles in the United States in the first quarter of 2022, down 20% from a year ago, but 16% higher from the fourth quarter, the automaker announced Friday.

Meanwhile, the legacy automaker continues to ramp up electric-vehicle capacity across North America in order to reach the company’s goal of 1 million EV units manufactured by 2025.

GMC’s launch of the Hummer EV is going according to plan, with early production focused on satisfying orders of the launch edition, the company said Friday. Production of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV will resume on April 4, as Chevrolet dealers continue to repair customer vehicles and recently resumed deliveries of some completed Bolt EV and Bolt EUVs in inventory.

Production of the Cadillac Lyriq began on March 21, nine months ahead of the company’s original target, GM said. Cadillac will begin taking orders for future editions on May 19.

GM’s overall production in North America has increased sequentially each quarter since the end of September 2021, and the company ended the first quarter with 273,760 vehicles in dealer inventory, including in-transit units, which are rising. Inventories were 128,757 units at the end of the third quarter of 2021, and 199,662 at the end of the fourth quarter. GM expects inventory to remain relatively low throughout the year due to high demand.

“Our ability to meet pent-up demand improved dramatically thanks to a tremendous effort by our supply chain and manufacturing teams to keep our plants operating at close to normal levels,” said Steve Carlisle, executive vice president and president, GM North America. “Supply chain disruptions are not fully behind us, but we expect to continue outperforming 2021 production levels, especially in the second half of the year.”

According to GM Chief Economist Elaine Buckberg, industry light vehicle volumes will grow this year and top 2021 levels, thanks to a strong labor market, higher vehicle production and pent-up demand.

“Ordinarily, a U.S. economy this strong would translate into light vehicle sales in the 17-million range,” she said. “Improvements in the supply chain should lift auto sales as the year progresses, despite headwinds from higher inflation and fuel prices.”

GM estimates the U.S. total light-vehicle seasonally adjusted annual rate, or SAAR, for the first quarter stood at 14.1 million, down from 16.8 million a year ago, due to lower inventory and production levels. 

GM’s performance, along with a more stable operating environment, has already translated into market share gains for GM in key truck segments, such as the Chevrolet Silverado HD and 1500, and the GMC Sierra HD and 1500.  Other models gaining market share during the first quarter were the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban; and the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, GM said. 

The combined retail market share of the Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon and Yukon 

Meanwhile, the Cadillac Escalade had its best first quarter since 2007, with a 7% sales increase.

Commercial customers have been upgrading and expanding their fleets. GM delivered its best commercial sales quarter in nearly three years with sales velocity at the end of the quarter reaching a 15-year high. In the commercial market, sales of full-size pickups were up 5%, compact SUVs up 131% and mid-size pickups up 23%.

Image: General Motors HQ (courtesy of GM)

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.