July 02--YOUNGSTOWN -- While Chevrolet Cruze sales were a bit off June 2013's all-time high, General Motors Co. once again shocked analysts' sales predictions with 267,461 delivered vehicles in the U.S. last month, and total sales increased 1 percent compared with a year ago.
In June 2013, GM set an all-time monthly sales record of 32,871 Lordstown-produced Chevrolet Cruzes. June 2014 numbers are down 20.9 percent with 26,008 sold.
Overall, Cruze sales are up 8.7 percent for the year, however.
GM's total retail sales were up 1 percent, and fleet sales were up 2 percent.
There were two fewer selling days in June compared with a year ago. On a selling-day adjusted basis, GM's total sales were up 9 percent, retail deliveries were up 9 percent, and fleet sales were up 10 percent -- leaving GM with the best June since 2007, according to a company press release.
"Everyone is expecting GM to take somewhat of a hit, but so far we haven't seen it in the sale numbers at all," said Tim Fleming, an analyst for Kelley Blue Book, a research firm. "[It was] a good month for GM overall."
Kelley Blue Book estimated GM to have 255,000 deliveries.
Both GM-Lordstown union leaders Glenn Johnson, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112, and Robert Morales, president of UAW Local 1714, saw the numbers as a positive despite them being behind last year's record.
"As we are staying around that 20,000 average, it just speaks volumes for the consistency of the Cruze," Johnson said. "It is one of the highest-quality and award-winning vehicles. Once you get in the seat you are going to understand what a quality car it is and what a bang for your buck it is."
June saw several additional recalls from GM, including more than 7 million cars in the U.S. for unintended ignition key rotation. Altogether this year there have been recalls on 28.9 million recalled vehicles for GM North America.
In early June, CEO Mary Barra spoke to GM employees about the former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas' findings in his investigation into the ignition-switch recall. And since then, details of the compensation program headed by Atty. Kenneth Feinberg, a top compensation expert, have been released.
And through all of this, GM is competing with the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.
"It is very difficult to compete with those two," Fleming said. "I think it speaks to the positive image of that car. We are still seeing consumers going out and purchasing new Cruzes. I think it speaks to an image of quality, style, and they [consumers] view it as a different car than its predecessor, the Cobalt."
Other highlights in GM's June sales numbers compared with last year include Buick having its best June since 2006, with sales up 18.4 percent; and GMC having its best June since 2006, with deliveries up 11 percent.
Deliveries of the Chevrolet Spark, Sonic, Tahoe and Cadillac were all up as well.
GM's commercial fleet business also continues to grow, with those sales up 48 percent, posting their eighth consecutive monthly increase.
Outside of GM, Chrysler's sales increased 9.2 percent in June, marking its 51st consecutive monthly sales increase, while sales at Ford fell 5.8 percent.
Among Asian automakers, sales increased 5.3 percent for Nissan, 3.7 percent for Hyundai, 3.3 percent for Toyota and 0.2 percent for Kia. Honda's sales slipped 5.8 percent, largely due to a 52 percent drop in car sales at its Acura luxury brand.
CONTRIBUTOR: The Associated Press
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Visit Vindicator (Youngstown, Ohio) at www.vindy.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Original headline: Cruze sales down 20 percent, up 8 percent overall
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