Locally built truck sales continue to decline
GM reported Tuesday that it sold 282,732 vehicles in March, down 19 percent from its sales in March 2007.
Car sales were down 14 percent, while deliveries of light-duty trucks were down by nearly 22 percent.
March sales of the full-size sport utility vehicles built in Janesville continued their downward trend, posting a sales decline of 33 percent in comparison to those of March 2007.
For the month, Chevrolet Suburban sales were down 36 percent, while those of the Chevy Tahoe dropped 34 percent. Deliveries of GMC Yukon XLs fell 31 percent, and sales of GMC Yukons were down 30 percent.
The four SUVs built in Janesville also are produced at GM plants in Arlington, Texas, and Silao, Mexico.
Mark LaNeve, GM’s vice president for North America vehicle sales, service and marketing, said the automaker’s new Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac CTS and crossovers such as Enclave, Acadia and Outlook had a strong month.
“Most importantly, despite the tough economy and soft truck market, we anticipate our total retail vehicle sales share to have remained flat for the month and the first three months of the year,” he said. “We are encouraged by our performance in the key passenger car categories, and we anticipate holding our share for full-size pickups and utilities.”
For the last three weeks, production at the Janesville plant has been curtailed by the United Auto Workers’ strike against American Axle, a key GM supplier.
GM officials said Tuesday that the automaker has lost nearly 100,000 units of production due to a five-week-old strike.
This week, the Janesville plant is being retooled to accommodate a slower production schedule that was announced months ago in response to sagging sales and higher dealer inventories.
Next week, workers on both shifts are expected to begin working the line up to its maximum capacity of 44 jobs per hour, which is 15 percent slower than the 52 jobs per hour produced earlier this year.