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GM August Sales Total 246,479; Highest Total and Retail Sales in 2009

Bruce Nunnally

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* August month-over-month retail sales increase led by core brands: Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac, which were up 21 percent collectively

* Chevrolet, led by the Camaro - the hottest car in America - Cobalt, Aveo and the all-new Equinox, had a 35 percent month-over-month total sales improvement

* Sales of the all-new Chevrolet Equinox up 189 percent compared with August 2008

* CARS (Cash for Clunkers) program drives showroom traffic to GM's strong portfolio of fuel-efficient new vehicles: Chevrolet Aveo total sales up 159 percent; crossovers Equinox and HHR up 189 and 26 percent respectively; Cobalt up 14 percent. GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado mid-pickup total sales climb 18 percent over last year

* Inventory at an all-time low - about 379,000 vehicles in stock

* GM responds to dealers by extending California eBay sales program through the end of September

DETROIT - General Motors continued to rebuild sales momentum in August as dealers in the United States delivered 246,479 vehicles, far and away the company's highest total and retail sales performance of 2009. The August total, when compared with a very strong sales performance in August 2008 and lower fleet sales this year, was down 20 percent. Retail sales were down 17 percent while fleet sales declined 29 percent. However, when comparing GM's strong August total sales with July, volume was up more than 57,000 vehicles, or 30 percent month-over-month. The hugely successful Federal "Cash for Clunkers" program contributed to the increase, and GM has announced it will ramp up production to restock already tight dealer inventories.

"The Cash for Clunkers program was certainly a success, but our momentum continues to build on the strength of our new cars and crossovers such as the Chevrolet Malibu, Equinox and Camaro. Now we have the Buick Lacrosse, Cadillac SRX and GMC Terrain hitting the market," said Mark LaNeve, vice president, U.S. sales. "We believe the program was a strong shot in the arm for the economy and that our four core brands - Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac - are well positioned with new products to take advantage of the ongoing recovery in the market. Our new vehicles are contributing to our stable share performance for the past five months - running in the 20 percent range."

Compared with a strong performance in August 2008, driven by the "Employee Discount for Everyone" promotion that resulted in the highest monthly sales total last year, GM's overall sales declined 62,338 vehicles, or 20 percent. Retail sales of 187,410 vehicles were down 17 percent, while fleet sales of 59,069 vehicles were off 29 percent. GM total car sales of 118,744 were down 5 percent compared with a year ago and truck sales of 127,735 were down 31 percent.

When compared with July's retail performance, there were several product highlights in August for GM's core brands:

* Core brand (Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac) total sales increased 29 percent with retail sales increasing 21 percent.

* Chevrolet retail sales increased 28 percent. Chevrolet Aveo, Cobalt, Impala, Malibu and Camaro contributed to a Chevrolet car retail increase of 53 percent. Aveo had its best sales month ever. Chevrolet truck sales increased 13 percent, led by increases by Silverado, Colorado, HHR, and the all new Equinox and Traverse.

* GMC retail sales increased 3 percent. The Canyon mid-pickup saw a total sales increase of 51 percent. The Sierra pickup and Acadia crossover also reported retail increases compared with the prior month.

GM/eBay Program Extended in California

"We're very pleased with the sales performance in our Western region (basically the western third of the country), where sales were up more than 41 percent compared with July, led by Chevrolet, GMC and Buick," LaNeve said. "We've put a lot of advertising into the California eBay project, and it appears customers are responding. Nearly 4,000 shoppers negotiated a new vehicle price with our California dealers in the first three weeks of the program.

"Our California dealers support the program and with more than one million visitors and 1.4 million completed searches so far, dealers feel the eBay project is generating significant awareness and consideration of Chevy, Buick, GMC and Pontiac products. So, we're extending the eBay program through the end of the month. Once the California program winds up, we'll take a look at the results and determine if we should roll it out nationally later this year," he added.

A total of 1,708 GM hybrid vehicles were delivered in the month. So far, in 2009, GM has delivered 11,544 hybrid vehicles.

Noncore brand total sales were mixed, largely due to the Cash for Clunkers program. When compared with July, Pontiac increased 36 percent; Saturn was up 42 percent, however HUMMER dropped 3 percent and Saab declined 16 percent.

GM inventories dropped compared with a year ago, and remained significantly below the half-million mark at historically low levels. At the end of August, about 379,000 vehicles were in stock, down about 357,000 vehicles (or 49 percent) compared with last year, and down approximately 19 percent compared with July. There were about 150,000 cars and 229,000 trucks (including crossovers) in inventory at the end of August.

GM Certified Sales

GM Certified Used Vehicles, Saturn Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, Saab Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, and HUMMER Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, combined sold 30,084 vehicles, up slightly from last month.

GM Certified Used Vehicles showed a small gain in August sales of 26,321 vehicles from last month; however, sales were down 25 percent from August 2008. Saturn Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 875 vehicles, down 13 percent. Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 2,285 vehicles, down 43 percent. Saab Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 432 vehicles, down 45 percent. HUMMER Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles sold 171 vehicles, down 32 percent.

"We and our GM Certified Used dealers remain optimistic and are seeing success in certain markets," said LaNeve. "While the CARs program did not directly benefit our certified dealers, it has renewed consumer confidence and is driving traffic into our dealerships. Our Certified Used dealers remain diligent in providing consumers the largest selection of vehicles in the industry, along with our industry-leading 100,000 mile/five-year (whichever comes first) limited powertrain warranty, and the 12-month/12,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty."

GM North America reports August 2009 production; Q3 2009 production forecast remains unchanged at 535,000 vehicles; Initial Q4 2009 production forecast at 655,000 vehicles, a significant improvement from previous 2009 levels.

In August, GM North America produced 196,000 vehicles (78,000 cars and 118,000 trucks). This is down 145,000 vehicles or 43 percent compared with August 2008 when the region produced 341,000 vehicles (158,000 cars and 183,000 trucks). (Production totals include joint venture production of 15,000 vehicles in August 2009 and 18,000 vehicles in August 2008.)

The region's 2009 fourth-quarter production forecast is initially set at 655,000 vehicles (262,000 cars and 393,000 trucks), which is down about 20 percent compared with a year ago. GM North America built 815,000 vehicles (365,000 cars and 450,000 trucks) in the fourth-quarter of 2008. However, Q4 2009 production volumes represent over a 20 percent increase vs. Q3 2009, the third consecutive quarterly increase this year.


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