GM has had a rough couple of weeks. Starting in February, the automaker started mass recalls stemming from faulty ignition switches. Despite all of the unfavorable media attention, though, GM actually managed to increase new sales in March by 4.1%. Sales for GM’s Buick and GMC brands were up by respective figures of 13.4% and 7.4%, and even controversy-stricken Chevrolet saw a gain of 3.3%.
While sales were up for all of GM’s mainstream brands, the same can’t be said about its luxury division Cadillac, where sales fell by 6.3%. Taking a closer look, sales for the brand have been depressed for the past four consecutive months, and as a result of the recent lackluster monthly performances, total 2014 year-to-date deliveries are currently 7.3% behind where things sat one year ago.
Before Cadillac’s recent slump, brand sales were doing pretty well. Leading up to December 2013’s drop-off, Cadillac enjoyed an impressive 18 consecutive month run on increasing retail sales. GM executives credited the growth streak towards a fresh product lineup and conquest sales from other luxury makes.
“Cadillac saw huge product-driven movement through 2013,” said Bill Peffer, vice president of sales and service. “Much of that growth came from buyers new to Cadillac, with Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz being three of the top traded-in brands,” Peffer added.
While sales were initially red hot for Cadillac’s new models during the greater part of 2013, sales have become stagnant in 2014 for many of its previous top performers. At the model level, March sales were down across the board with the exception of the SRX and CTS, which saw gains of 23.6% and 4.6%, respectively. Sales for the recently introduced XTS and ATS sedans were especially disappointing considering the high expectations Cadillac had for these models, with March deliveries down by 30.5% and 16.9%, respectively. Cadillac’s oldest design, the Escalade, had the worst performance for the month with a 35.2% pull back in new sales.
Cadillac’s March month-end days’ supply dropped to 118 days, two days less than what was recorded in February. On the car side of the market, Cadillac’s coupes, sedans and wagons averaged 159 days of supply, while the brand’s SUVs and trucks ended the month with a much leaner and healthier average of 68 days.
Looking ahead, Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations said, “GM’s retail sales, like the weather and the economy as a whole, have been an improving trend since early February, we expect to see solid economic growth in the months ahead, with the job market, household income and consumer spending all showing positive signs. It is a strong backdrop for the launch of our all-new heavy-duty pickups, large SUVs and other new products, like the Cadillac ATS coupe coming this summer.”
While the ATS coupe should provide a shot in the arm for the Cadillac brand, recent sales trends suggest that it will take a bit more to get sales going in the right direction again.