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GMC expects record Sierra pickup sales as it struggles to keep up with demand

Jamie L. LaReau, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

In the third quarter, GMC's sales of light-duty and heavy-duty Sierra pickups combined were down 22% to 52,774 compared with the year-ago quarter. But for the nine months ending in September, total Sierra sales were up almost 10% at 191,186 compared with the year-ago period.

For the full-year 2020, GMC sold 253,016 total Sierra pickups, a 9% gain over 2019, according to GM.

The next biggest seller in GMC's line is the Yukon, which had a 24% sales gain in the third quarter to 17,428. Through September, Yukon sales are up a whopping 55% to 59,743.

'Vehicle for all customers'

The chip shortage is, in part, a result of the COVID-19 pandemic when demand rose for personal electronics, which require the chips. Chip makers prioritized production to that industry over the less profitable chips that go into car parts.

GM and its cross-town rivals, Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis, each have had to pause production or build vehicles just short of the chips parts and then wait for the parts to arrive before completing the vehicles. Consulting firm AlixPartners in Southfield has forecast that automakers will lose production of 7.7 million vehicles this year and it will cost the global auto industry $210 billion in revenues.

 

Most dealership lots are barren of new cars. Customers face long waits and higher prices. Still, Aldred said, GMC will not cut production of lower trim models —which are less profitable — to streamline production.

"I think we're through that phase, if you're on a plan to deliver an all-time sales year," Aldred said. "A core part of our mission is to provide a vehicle for all customers."

'Hand-to-mouth'

Aldred said he foresees chip availability improving next year helping boost production of a variety of trim levels.

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