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General Motors, Fiat Chrysler sales down sharply as coronavirus hammers industry

Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

DETROIT -- General Motors saw its sales drop 34% in the second quarter of the year, as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic came more into focus.

Auto production was shut down for much of the quarter and stay-at-home and related orders in many places limited sales.

GM's sales dropped from 746,659 to 492,489 for the period -- April, May and June -- compared with the same three months in 2019.

The company's brands all experienced declines: Buick, 36%; Cadillac, 41%; Chevrolet, 34%; and GMC, 33%. But a handful of models showed some increases, such as the new Chevy Blazer.

Earlier Wednesday morning, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles released its sales figures for the quarter, showing a 39% decline. Ford is to release its numbers Thursday just prior to the holiday weekend.

GM, however, highlighted rebounding demand. The company said "retail sales in April were down the most in the quarter, off by about (35%) compared to last year, but recovered significantly in May and June with year-over-year declines of around (20%) or less."


Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations, emphasized unprecedented times..

"Our resilient sales reflect an improving demand curve, and the strong efforts of GM and our retailers in unprecedented times," McNeil said in a news release. "GM entered the quarter with very lean inventories and our dealers did a great job meeting customer demand, especially for pickups. Now, we are refilling the pipeline by quickly and safely returning production to pre-pandemic levels. Having an appropriate mix of the right vehicles combined with the benefits of enhanced shopping technologies such as Shop. Click. Drive., positions us for success in the second half of 2020."

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