Auto Sales: GM Sales Rise 5% As Sierra, Silverado Trucks Boom

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General Motors (GM) said Tuesday that its U.S. auto sales rose by nearly 5% in the fourth quarter on surging truck sales, while Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) and Ford (F) gear to report for the holiday quarter.


Toyota (TM) said U.S. sales increased 7.5% in December, while Nissan (NSANY) said Q4 sales dived 19%.

Honda (HMC) also is due to report U.S. auto sales Tuesday.

On Saturday, Tesla (TSLA) reported robust Q4 global deliveries and fell just short of a targeted 500,000 deliveries for 2020.

Analysts at J.D. Power and LMC Automotive forecast the annualized rate for new vehicle sales will reach 16.4 million units in December, down from 16.9 million units in December 2019. They also estimate that 14.5 million new vehicles were sold during 2020, down nearly 15% from 2019.

U.S. auto sales are expected to hit their lowest level since 2011, according to car info site Edmunds. But they are expected to fare far better than originally feared, on the back of retail sales nearly rebounding to pre-pandemic levels in the latter half of 2020. U.S. auto sales sank 30% or more in Q2 of 2020 following pandemic-induced factory closures.

Here is how GM sales performed vs. Edmunds analysts’ expectations, as well as other automakers. The results show sales volume as well as growth or decline vs. a year ago.

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General Motors

Q4 auto sales estimate: 753,811; up 2.4%.

Results: U.S. sales increased 4.8% year over year on the back of strong retail and pickup demand. Sierra truck deliveries rose 14%, while Silverado truck deliveries rose 10%. Truck and SUV sales tend to have higher profit margins than sedans.

For all of 2020, sales fell 11.8%.

“We look forward to an inflection point for the U.S. economy in spring,” said GM Chief Economist Elaine Buckberg.

She added: “Widening vaccination rates and warmer weather should enable consumers and businesses to return to a more normal range of activities, lifting the job market, consumer sentiment and auto demand.”

GM stock rose 3.2% to 41.79 on the stock market today, reclaiming the 50-day moving average.

Fiat Chrysler

Q4 auto sales estimate: 498,042; down 8.2%.
Results: Check back later.

Ford Motor

Q4 auto sales estimate: 517,309; down 14%.
Results: Check back later.

Toyota Motor

Q4 sales estimate: 652,940; up 8.1%.
Results: U.S. December sales came in at 249,601, up 7.5% on a daily selling rate basis. Toyota did not provide Q4 sales. For all of 2020, Toyota’s U.S. sales fell 11.9% to 2.11 million.

Toyota stock dipped 4 cents to 153.25, just above a buy range from a Dec. 11 breakout.

Honda Motor

Q4 sales estimate: 365,915; down 9%.
Results: Check back later.


Q4 sales estimate: 224,231; down 25.6%.
Results: Nissan’s Q4 U.S. sales sank 19.3% to 243,133. For the full year, sales plunged 33.2% to 899,217.

Nissan stock fell 0.8% to 10.43.

Find Aparna Narayanan on Twitter at @IBD_Aparna


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