GM sales drop for the year, but bounced back to pre-pandemic levels in Q4

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General Motors Co.’s fourth-quarter total sales rose 5%, returning to pre- pandemic levels, and total sales for 2020 were down 12%, the auto maker said Tuesday.

Shares of GM
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added to gains after the news. The company said it gained market share last year, and it is “especially bullish” for the new year as it will have a full year’s production of newly redesigned, full-size SUVs under its belt.

GM said it expects a “broader U.S. economic recovery to continue in 2021.”

“We look forward to an inflection point for the U.S. economy in spring,” GM Chief Economist Elaine Buckberg said in a statement. “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 said it sold 771,323 vehicles in the fourth quarter. Retail deliveries, which don’t include fleet sales, rose 12% in the quarter, GM said.

GM sold 2,547,339 vehicles in 2020, with total deliveries down 12% and retail deliveries down 6%.

Retail sales began to recover in May and reached pre pandemic levels in the fourth quarter, the car maker said. Fleet sales, mostly to car-rental companies and other large companies, “are recovering but remain sharply lower, especially daily rental deliveries,” GM said.

Average transaction prices set fourth-quarter and full-year records at $41,886 and $39,229, GM said.

Shares of GM have gained 13% in the past 12 months, compared with a 15% increase for the S&P 500 index.
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