Janesville-made SUVs plunge more than 70 percent

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008
— As if General Motors' officials needed any more data, October sales of the full-size sport utility vehicles built in Janesville seem to confirm that the automaker doesn't need two plants to produce the big trucks.

GM said Monday that sales of vehicles built in Janesville and Arlington, Texas, plummeted in October.

For the month, Suburban sales were down 70.4 percent, while Tahoe sales were down 77.1 percent. Yukon XL deliveries for the month were down 72.4 percent, and Yukon sales dropped 76.2 percent.

On a calendar-year-to-date basis, Suburban sales are down 37.7 percent, while Tahoe deliveries are off 35.6 percent. Yukon XL sales have dropped by 46.2 percent, and Yukon sales are down 39.9 percent.

After cutting one shift of local production earlier this year, GM announced in June that it would cease production of SUVs in Janesville. The automaker since has said that production will end Dec. 23.

The Arlington plant will be the sole producer of the large SUVs.

Overall, GM's sales in October were 45 percent behind those of October 2007. Truck sales were down 51 percent while car sales dropped 34 percent.

"The market has been shrinking for three years, but in October we saw a dramatic decline for the industry and GM," GM Vice President Mark LaNeve said in a news release. "We are obviously disappointed in our results, which reflect a difficult comparison with a strong year-ago October performance."

LaNeve said GM and other automakers are being affected by the national credit crunch.

GM is launching today a no-haggle pricing program and cash-back offers.

"These are extraordinary times for the U.S. economy, for consumers and for an auto industry that is running at deep recessionary levels relative to 1999-2006," LaNeve said. "We are offering the highest quality and best value vehicles to customers in our history, along with great incentives. But we can't do it alone as GM or the auto industry. It will take a coordinated national effort to turn this economy around."

In addition to GM's poor October performance, Ford said its sales were down 30 percent.

The results released Monday—along with a 23 percent drop at Toyota and a 25 percent decline at Honda—are indications that sales for the industry as a whole might be the worst in 25 years.

Material from Janesville Gazette wire services was used in this story.

Last updated: 10:59 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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