January may be the middle of winter but GM was able to rebuke the cold weather with red-hot sales. The company delivered nearly 195,000 units in the U.S., a 16 percent increase compared to the same month last year.
That’s good news for Detroit and the automotive industry in general, as it signals the American economy is improving and people are willing to spend. Counting the tallies and crunching the numbers GM’s retail sales were up 24 percent. However, fleet deliveries dropped a modest 2 percent.
Speaking on a conference call with select media and industry analysts Kurt McNeil, the company’s vice president of U.S. sales operations said “All in all it was a very solid month,” and “We haven’t seen a January this strong since 2008.”
McNeil listed three reasons for GM’s surprising performance. First, pent-up demand is at last being taken care of. People with older, worn-out cars are finally replacing them with new ones. Second, the company has strong products in its showrooms and consumers are noticing. Third, they’re generating a lot of buzz at auto shows. The Corvette Stingray and Cadillac ELR, were both star attractions in Detroit last month.
Breaking things out into individual brands, Cadillac stormed the competition with a 47 percent increase in year-over-year sales. Deliveries for the month topped 13,000 units. McNeil said “ATS is now the third-bestselling car in its segment,” a very impressive achievement for a vehicle that literally just hit the market. Overall he said for Cadillac this was the “best January retail sales in 23 years.”
SEE ALSO: 2013 Cadillac ATS Review
Buick’s year-over-year sales were up nearly 32 percent, with deliveries topping 13,400 units. The star of the tri-shield lineup was the Enclave crossover. This full-sized family hauler’s sales were up 57 percent making last month its best January ever. Interestingly, it was also the brand’s top-selling retail model in 2012. Customers snapped up more than 50,000 Enclaves last year.
As expected, full-size trucks remain a gigantic money-printing machine for GM. Sales of the outgoing Silverado and Sierra pickups were up 32 percent even though all-new models arrive in the second quarter of 2013. Altogether more than 50,000 copies of these hard-working vehicles were sold, a figured buoyed by strong sales to small businesses.
SEE ALSO: 2014 Chevrolet Silverado
Looking forward, the company is optimistic about the rest of 2013 because they have a veritable tsunami of new product hitting the market. Of course its full-size pickups are redesigned, a brand-new Chevrolet Impala will launch, the Cruze compact sedan gets a diesel engine option and there will even be an electric version of the tiny Chevy Spark. The 2014 Corvette’s in the mix too, there are some important refreshes at Buick and a redesigned version of the Cadillac CTS will launch as well. And that’s not even everything!
Based on January’s performance the accountants and number wranglers at GM project the industry will deliver some 15.3 million vehicles in 2013, further proof the so-called Great Recession is (thankfully) fading in rear-view mirror.