General Motors Company (GM)
Vehicles Sales Conference Call
February 1, 2012, 11:00 a.m. ET
Jim Cain – GM Communications
Don Johnson – VP, U.S. Sales Operations
Alan Betty – Chevrolet VP
Brian Sweeney VP of Buick GMC
Kurt Mcneil – VP Cadillac
Yingzi Su Senior Economist
Chris Ceraso – Credit Suisse
John Murphy – BofA Merrill Lynch
Adam Jonas – Morgan Stanley
Rod Lache – Deutsche Bank Securities
Brian Johnson – Barclays Capital
Patrick Archambault – Goldman Sachs
Himanshu Patel – JPMorgan
H Peter Nesvold – Jefferies & Co.
Colin Langan - UBS
Itay Michaeli – Citi
Ben Klayman – Reuters
Mike Haley – Automotive News
Craig Trullo – Bloomberg News
Alisa Priddle – Detroit Free Press
Darwin Hathaway – TheTruthAboutCars.com
Deanna Durbin – The Associated Press
Previous Statements by GM
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As a reminder, this conference is being recorded, Wednesday, February 1, 2012.
I would now like to turn the conference over to Jim Cain, GM Communications. Please go ahead, sir.
Good morning, everybody, and thank you for joining us. And welcome to our January 2012 U.S. Sales call. Joining us today is Don Johnson, our Vice President of U.S. Sales Operations, along with the Vice President of each of our sales channels.
Before we begin, I just want to remind everybody that our press release and the contents of the call are covered under our normal forward-looking statements disclosure, which you can read in the press release.
And with that, we’ll turn the floor over to Don, thank you.
Great, thanks Jim, and good morning, everybody. As we always do every month, we’re going to review our sales results, we’ll dig in to the industry dynamics a little bit, and then I’ll take your questions.
I suppose you’ve read by now, General Motors reported total sales for the month of January of 167,962 units. Now that’s about 6% lower than January 2011, which was, as you all know, a very strong month for us. And consequently, we did beat a lot of the expectations for the month.
When we look at the industry the SAR in January looks to be in the 13.5 to 13.6 million light vehicle range, which roughly equal to where we were in December 2011, and in line with our estimates for the full year of 2012.
As we look at our market share, we’re estimating that our share will come in 18.8, 18.9% so although those year-over-year sale changes look a little bit challenging, subsequently, our share of the business is very good news.
And importantly, we delivered this result with incentive spending that is very competitive, and actually lower than many of our full line competitors. When we express it as a percentage of average transaction prices, our incentive spend was about 9.8% of ATP, and that’s almost three percentage points lower than where we were a year ago.
So turning back to our sales results, January was paced again by Chevrolet, especially Chevrolet passenger cars, which were up 13% year-over-year. Now that 13% increase for Chevy cars was enough to drive GM’s total passenger cars sales up 3% and that offset the impact of some of our discontinued vehicles.
And it’s really the success of our new fuel efficient cars that tells the story. As an example, our sales of the Chevrolet Cruze. Cruze sales were up 10% versus January 2011, and 15% of those retail sales were the 42-mile-per-gallon Cruze Eco model.
Sonic sales, again continued very strong. Sales were 57.12 in January. That’s about the same as December, and with the low seasonal in January, again that’s very strong performance from Sonic, and that’s up 109% compared with the [inaudible] that it replaced.
Now when we look at Cadillac sales, the luxury segment in January was actually down. So even though Cadillac sales year-over-year were down, Cadillac will gain share in the retail luxury segment with another performance from SRX and a continued emphasis on retail sales, and really supporting Cadillac residuals.
For Buick, sales of the Buick LaCrosse, which now has the 36-mile-per-gallon eAssist powertrain as standard equipment, were up 6%. And on a retail bases, LaCrosse had its best January either. And eAssist models currently are representing about 20% of sales.
When you look at the sort of more performance for less fuel benefit of the eAssist powertrain, it really only tells half of the story. The other half is the overall refinement of eAssist and it really is impressing customers.
So while we’re on the subject vehicle electrification, let me briefly update you on the Chevrolet Volt. As we acknowledged during the month, sales in January were clearly impacted by the safety investigation and the exaggerated negative coverage.
Now that the dust has settled though, we’re looking to get back on track and make the most out of new developments like the fact that Volts will soon be eligible for HOV lane access in California.
But importantly, we are going to take this one month at a time. We’re going to keep production in line with demand when we resume shipping vehicles in early February.
So before I move on, I want to touch again briefly on crossover and truck sales, as well as our fleet mix. Year-over-year our crossover sales were down 18% from January of last year, despite a 6% sales increase for the Chevrolet Equinox. So the Equinox continues to show a lot of strength.