GM sales ended up slipping for the third year in a row.
2018 was a consequential year for many automakers, where crossovers and SUVs thrived while sedans and hatchbacks dwindled in sales. Some automakers, such as Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis, weren't able to take advantage of the SUV boom and saw their sales fall short of expectations.
Unlike the Korean automakers, General Motors was able to capitalize on the growing popularity of SUVs and crossovers. People can't seem to get enough of GM's utility vehicles, so much so that the automaker sold over one million of them in 2018.
GM recently announced its sales figures for 2018, which include 2,954,037 vehicles delivered in 2018 - the exact breakdown shows 1,034,808 crossovers, 973,463 pickup trucks, and over 280,000 large SUVs. We find the crossover figure to be particularly impressive because it is even higher than pickup truck sales, which is no easy feat in the US market.
"We have built the most successful pickup, SUV and crossover business in the industry and we gained considerable momentum in the fourth quarter of 2018 as dealers began delivering the all-new Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, and Cadillac XT4," said Kurt McNeil, US vice president, Sales Operations.
GM finished the year strong with 785,229 deliveries in the fourth quarter of the year and plans to carry that momentum into 2019. "We feel confident heading into 2019 because we have more major truck and crossover launches coming during the year and the US economy is strong," McNeil added.
GM crossover sales were up 7% overall compared to 2017. Individual models saw even bigger sales increases including the GMC Terrain (up 34%), Chevrolet Traverse (up 19%), Chevrolet Equinox (up 15%), Chevrolet Trax (up 13%), and Buick Encore (up 6%).
Even with all of this growth, GM's total sales of 2.95 million vehicles represents a 1.6% decrease compared to 2017. This marks the third year in a row GM's sales have decreased and the first time the company has failed to sell three million vehicles since 2014.