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GM sales drop 34% in 2nd quarter as coronavirus pandemic shut down plants, dealers

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Posted at 11:17 AM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-01 16:40:04-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — General Motors announced Wednesday that sales dropped 34% in the second quarter due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the automaker, it delivered 492,489 vehicles in the second quarter, with April being the hardest-hit month for the company.

Related: Fiat Chrysler reports 39% sales decline in 2nd quarter

GM said retail sales were down 24% in the quarter, but sales in April were down 35% compared to last year. In May and June, the sales dropped about 20%.

"Look this is a big problem for the auto industry. It is a financial problem. They are burning through cash. They don’t have enough cash coming through the door," said John McElroy of Autoline Detroit.

According to GM, full-size pickup truck sales still performed well.

“Our resilient sales reflect an improving demand curve, and the strong efforts of GM and our retailers in unprecedented times,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president, Sales Operations. “GM entered the quarter with very lean inventories and our dealers did a great job meeting customer demand, especially for pickups. Now, we are refilling the pipeline by quickly and safely returning production to pre-pandemic levels. Having an appropriate mix of the right vehicles combined with the benefits of enhanced shopping technologies such as Shop. Click. Drive., positions us for success in the second half of 2020.”

The company said availability on dealer lots is expected to grow now that most plants are operating as normal, and will continue to operate during the traditional two-week summer shutdown.

GM is also working with logistics and trucking companies to make sure vehicles are shipping as soon as they are produced.

“After falling into a deep recession in March, the U.S. economy has begun to recover as it reopens. Auto sales are benefiting from historically low interest rates that make now an attractive time to buy a vehicle for many customers. We expect continued sales recovery as businesses ramp back up, but recognize that the path forward may not be linear, as rising infections in many states may lead to steps backward in the reopening process,” said Buckberg.

Fiat Chrysler also reported a massive decline, with sales down 39% in the second quarter.