The US auto giant delivered 603,208 vehicles, up 17.6 percent from the year-ago period. The figures topped estimates for GM from Cox Automotive, which saw a strong US job market as a supportive factor in an environment clouded somewhat by higher interest rates.
General Motors reported a jump in first-quarter US auto sales on Monday, reflecting improved dealership inventories that have bolstered the turnover of popular trucks.
The US auto giant delivered 603,208 vehicles, up 17.6 percent from the year-ago period.
The figures topped estimates for GM from Cox Automotive, which saw a strong US job market as a supportive factor in an environment clouded somewhat by higher interest rates.
GM vice president Steve Carlisle described the period as a “great start” to 2023 saying the company has a “busy season” of product launches coming up.
“We gained significant market share in the first quarter, pricing was strong, inventories are in very good shape and we sold more than 20,000 EVs in a quarter for the first time,” Carlisle said, referring to electric vehicles.
Key GM brands with higher sales included the popular Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup truck brands.
In terms of GM’s ramp-up of electric vehicles, the company is on track to build 50,000 EVs in North America through the end of June, with that level doubling in the second half of the year.
Cox has estimated an industry-wide rise in US auto sales of nearly six percent over the first quarter.
While this level has surpassed initial expectations, Cox noted that conditions have changed from a period of extremely lean vehicle inventories that supported strong pricing.
The first quarter result is “surprisingly strong given all the bad economic news,” Cox senior economist Charlie Chesbrough said in a March 28 press release that predicted a drop in sales compared with the fourth quarter of 2022.
But he expects that the favorable effects the market experienced in the first quarter will not last through the year.
“Inventory levels at some automakers are moving back up above pre-pandemic normal, suggesting that overall demand has slowed in some corners of the market,” Chesbrough said.
GM had especially meager vehicle availability for much of 2021 and 2022, reflecting a hit to supplies following factory suspensions during Covid-19. This was followed by a hit to output from a dearth of semiconductor chips.