GM’s Q3 Sales Jump 21% as UAW Strike Slowly Expands

Members and supporters of the United Auto Workers (UAW) picket in front of the General Motors Co. Flint Processing Center in Swartz Creek, Michigan, USA, on Monday, September 25, 2023.

Emily Elconin | Bloomberg | fake images

DETROIT – An ongoing strike by the United Auto Workers union against Detroit automakers had little to no direct effect on General Motors’ Sales of new vehicles in the United States in the third quarter.

The Detroit automaker on Tuesday reported a 21.4% increase in sales from July to September, compared with still-moderate sales in the third quarter of 2022, when the industry was still recovering from coronavirus woes. supply chain.

GM’s increase significantly exceeded automotive analysts’ expectations for the overall industry of 15% to 16% for the third quarter. Sales of each of the Detroit automaker’s brands increased compared to the previous year.

Not all automakers did as well as GM in the quarter. But its sales increased greatly in terms of vehicles sold compared to a year ago. Third-quarter sales results reported Tuesday included: ToyotaEngine up to 12.2%; HyundaiMotor up to approximately 9%; Kia up about 14%; Mazda up about 22%; and sling up to approximately 53%.

stellantis was an outlier, as sales fell 1.3%. The company’s decline is notable, but it is not likely to be attributed to the UAW strikes. Stellantis’ sales have struggled as it tries to maintain the high profits achieved in recent years by not discounting its vehicles as much as it has historically. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Although the work stoppages may not have affected their bottom line yet, GM and other companies will likely face sales and supply chain problems if the UAW strike, which began Sept. 15, is expanded or prolonged. Only 25,200 workers, or about 17% of UAW members covered by expired contracts with GM, Ford engine and Stellantis, are part of the work stoppages.

The UAW has been gradually escalating strikes since the work stoppages began, after the sides failed to reach tentative agreements by September 14. Selective or “stand-up” strikes are taking place instead of national walkouts in which all plants strike simultaneously.

National strikes affect companies more quickly. Selective strikes are aimed at preserving union funds and prolonging work stoppages to keep automakers out of control.

The impacts of the strikes will likely begin to be felt in October for certain vehicles such as the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickup trucks, where work stoppages have affected production, according to Cox Automotive chief economist Jonathan Smoke.

2024 Chevrolet Trax (left) and 2024 Buick Envista

Michael Wayland/CNBC

“So far, the impact has been fairly moderate,” Smoke said in a blog post on Friday. “Should the strike against production centers expand, the most vulnerable products are large SUVs from Chevrolet and Cadillac, which have tighter inventory levels compared to their domestic rivals.”

For GM, the UAW strikes have affected production of midsize trucks and the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave SUVs.

GM’s fourth-quarter sales rose more than 19% to about 1.97 million vehicles sold in the U.S. That included more than 20,000 electric vehicle sales, a 28% increase compared to the second quarter. .

Notably, the automaker began selling new electric versions of its Chevrolet Blazer SUV and Silverado pickup truck during the third quarter. The company also increased production and sales of the Cadillac Lyriq EV and Hummer models during the quarter. However, sales still pale in comparison to Tesla’s electric vehicle deliveries.

During the quarter, GM also benefited from growth in newer entry-level models such as the Chevrolet Trax and Buick Envista, both imported from plants in South Korea.

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