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General Motors (GM) reports strong sales growth for Q4 but full-year sales see a drop

GM expects the broader US economic recovery to continue in 2021

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) reported strong sales growth in the US for the fourth quarter of 2020 but full-year sales declined. Shares were up 3% in afternoon hours on Tuesday. The stock has gained over 37% in the past three months.

Q4 and FY2020 performance

General Motors sold 771,323 vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2020, reflecting a growth of 5% from the year-ago period. Retail deliveries for the period were up 12%. Retail sales for the industry saw a recovery in May and reached pre-pandemic levels during Q4. The average transaction price for Q4 was $41,886.

For the full-year of 2020, the company sold 2,547,339 units. Total deliveries were down 12% year-over-year while retail deliveries were down 6%. The average transaction price for FY2020 was $39,229. GM ended the year with inventory of 410,875 units, down by 205,148 units year-over-year.

The GMC Sierra saw deliveries increase 14% in the fourth quarter and 9% for the full year. GMC retail deliveries were up 14% for the fourth quarter, with five models up by double-digits. Chevrolet saw retail deliveries grow 12% in Q4 while Cadillac recorded a growth of 16%. Retail deliveries of the Buick Enclave rose 21% in the quarter.

Total fleet share rose by around 2 points in Q4 and FY2020. Sales to small businesses were up 27% in the fourth quarter and 5% in the full year.

Outlook

In 2021, GM expects to have a full year of production of the Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban. The company also has plans to build full-size pickups in Ontario starting in early 2022. GM is particularly bullish about its new full-size SUVs, which began launching at its Texas facility in April.

GM expects the broader US economic recovery to continue in 2021. The company believes rising vaccination rates and warmer weather should help restore normalcy, thereby lifting the job market, consumer sentiment and auto demand.

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