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General Motors Delivered 446,997 Vehicles in Q3, a 33% Drop From Q3 2020 Due to Ongoing Chip Shortages

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【Summary】General Motors delivered 446,997 vehicles in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2021, down 218,195 vehicles (33%) as a result of supply chain disruptions along with historically low inventories. But GM’s financial outlook is still expected to be within the calendar year guidance shared by the company as its continues to develop solutions to mitigate the impacts of the semiconductor shortage.

Eric Walz    Oct 01, 2021 1:30 PM PT
General Motors Delivered 446,997 Vehicles in Q3, a 33% Drop From Q3 2020 Due to Ongoing Chip Shortages
The Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra reached a combined 38% market share in Q3 in the full-size pickup segment.

Automaker General Motors announced its third quarter earnings on Friday and as expected, deliveries of new vehicles dropped from the same period a year ago due to the industry-wide chip shortages automakers have been dealing with since last year.

GM dealers delivered 446,997 vehicles in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2021, down 218,195 vehicles (33%) as a result of supply chain disruptions along with historically low inventories.

The delivery numbers are inline with what investors were expecting. During the third quarter, GM warned investors that its wholesale volumes in North America in the second half of 2021 would be down roughly 200,000 units from the first half, largely because of supply chain disruptions in Southeast Asia as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns.

Despite the ongoing chip shartages. GM's financial outlook is still expected to be within the calendar year guidance shared by the company as its continues to develop solutions to mitigate the impacts of the semiconductor shortage and Chevrolet Bolt EV recall.

GM was forced to recall roughly 140,000 Chevy Bolt EVs in August after reports of battery fires. The 2017-2019 model year Bolt EVs were first recalled in Nov. 2020 for the same reason. 

For the initial recall last year, GM dealers installed improved diagnostic software and limited the battery state of charge to just 90%. But the recall was expanded after fires were reported in some Bolt EVs that received the update last November.

Despite challenging market conditions for GM during the third quarter, the automaker managed to maintain or increase its retail market share in key segments, mainly full-size pickups and SUVs, compared with a year ago, according to J.D. Power PIN estimates.

GM's average transaction price was $47,467 during the third quarter, as customers purchased a growing number of more expensive full-size trucks and SUVs.

During the third quarter, GM's retail share of the highly profitable, full-size pickup segment grew more than 2%, led by strong sales of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, which reached a combined 38% market share in the category.  

GM said that almost seven in 10 customers in the full-size SUV segment purchased a Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban or GMC Yukon vehicle. 

Sales of the Suburban SUV for example, are up 28%, while sales of the GMC Yukon rose 24% year over year. Sales of full-size SUVs to fleet customers were up 89 percent, with Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicle (PPV) sales up 86%. GM also announced that fleet sales of full-size pickup trucks jumped by 13%.

The luxury SUV category remains dominated by GM in the U.S. Deliveries of the Escalade from GM's luxury division Cadillac increased 123%, making it the best-selling large luxury SUV by a double-digit margin.

The Cadillac Escalade deliveries increased by 123%. It remains the best-selling large luxury SUV by a double-digit margin.

GM says it continues to sell more full-size pickups than any other automaker calendar year to date. To keep profitable trucks and SUVs rolling off the assembly line, GM is prioritizing the chips for these vehicles over its other lower volume models. 

As of this week, GM said that all of its  full-size pickup, SUV and midsize truck plants in North America are operational. 

Last month, GM announced it was suspending production at 8 of its 15 factories in North America for one to two weeks and beginning on Monday, Sept 6 due to not having the chips and semiconductors to complete assembly.

Four of GM's U.S. assembly plants were affected, including in Lansing Mich, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Wentzville, Spring Hill, Tenn and Wentzville, MO. The others include three factories in Mexico and one in Canada.

During the quarter, GM shipped over 68,000 vehicles to dealers that had been held at assembly plants due to semiconductor supply issues.

Now that the plants have resumed production, GM expects that the semiconductor supply shortages are improving, which would get the company back on track in Q4.

"GM has been agile and decisive in managing COVID-related impacts on our production and wholesale volumes and we appreciate the support of our dealers and the loyalty of our customers," said Steve Carlisle, executive vice president and president, GM North America.  "The semiconductor supply disruptions that impacted our third-quarter wholesale and customer deliveries are improving.  As we look to the fourth quarter, a steady flow of vehicles held at plants will continue to be released to dealers, we are restarting production at key crossover and car plants, and we look forward to a more stable operating environment through the fall."

GM compact SUVs are also selling extremely well this year, as it remains a popular category with U.S. car buyers. The Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV sales jumped 147% in Q3.

While sales of the Chevrolet Corvette sports car also increased by 60% in Q3. The all-new 2023 Corvette Z06 will be revealed on Oct. 26.

Dealer inventory, including in-transit units, was 128,757 units at the end of the third quarter, with availability projected to improve during the fourth quarter, according to GM.

"While supply has been constraining sales in recent months, underlying demand conditions remain strong, thanks to ample job openings, growing pent-up vehicle demand and excess savings accumulated by many households during the pandemic," said Elaine Buckberg, GM chief economist. "We expect to continue selling every vehicle we can produce with rapid turnover."

GM's sales momentum may extend into the new year as a result of some high-profile vehicle launches in the first half of 2022, including electric vehicles.

Production of the highly anticipated GMC HUMMER EV begins later this year at GM's Factory ZERO in Detroit-Hamtramck, which will also build the first ever Chevrolet Silverado electric pickup.

Deliveries of the fully-electric Cadillac Lyriq SUV is set to begin in the first half of 2022 and based on customer interest the Lyriq could become a big seller. GM said that reservations for the all-electric 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ Debut Edition were booked out within ten minutes of opening on Sept 18.

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