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GM’s quarterly sales fall but show improvement from beginning of year

The GM logo is seen on the facade of the General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, March 16, 2021.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

DETROIT – General Motors’ U.S. vehicle sales were down about 15% in the second quarter from a year ago as the automaker continues to battle supply chain issues, but showed improvement from earlier in the year.

Before announcing its sales results, the automaker said it has about 95,000 vehicles in its inventory that were manufactured without certain components as of June 30, a majority of which were built in June. Despite the problems, the company maintained its guidance for the year.

GM’s second-quarter sales were slightly better than expectations of auto analysts, who had forecast a 16% to 17% decline. Compared to the first quarter, GM’s sales of 582,401 vehicles were up by 14%, showing an improvement in the automaker’s production and supply of vehicles.

“We appreciate the patience and loyalty of our dealers and customers as we strive to meet significant pent-up demand for our products, and we will work with our suppliers and manufacturing and logistics teams to deliver all the units held at our plants as quickly as possible,” GM North America President Steve Carlisle said in a release.

GM reported its vehicle inventory to end the second quarter was about 248,000 units, down by 9.5% compared to the end of March. The automaker had about 274,000 vehicles in its U.S. inventory to end the first quarter.

GM outsold Toyota during the first six months of the year, following the Japanese automaker outselling its Detroit rival in 2021. It marked the first time since 1931 that GM wasn’t the best-selling car company in the U.S.. However, it’s something Toyota executives at the time said would be unsustainable.

Industry sales down

Automakers such as GM have been scrambling to rebuild dealer inventories that have been hit hard by production cuts amid a global shortage of semiconductor chips and other key automotive components.

The problems have caused automakers to sporadically shutter plants or slow production for weeks, if not months. The lack of production combined with strong consumer demand has caused vehicle inventories to plummet to record lows.

Since June 2021, Cox Automotive reports monthly sales volume has been stuck in a tight window, averaging 1.1 million units a month and peaking at 1.3 million in June 2021.

Automotive analysts and forecasters expect U.S. sales during the second quarter to be around 3.5 million, down between 19% and 21% from a year ago.

Other results

GM is among several major automakers scheduled to report second-quarter U.S. vehicle sales on Friday. Here are the results of others that have been released:

  • Toyota Motor said its second-quarter sales were down 22.9% from a year earlier to 531,105 units.
  • Hyundai Motor, including its luxury Genesis brand, reported second-quarter sales of 198,136 units, a 23% decline for the second quarter compared to a year earlier.
  • Kia’s second-quarter sales were 182,146 units, down 16.8% compared to the second quarter of 2021.
  • Sales of Porsche’s sports cars and SUVs were 19,487 during the second quarter, up 2.8% from a year earlier.
  • Mazda reported sales of 60,535 vehicles during the second quarter, down about 43% from the second quarter of 2021.
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