General Motors said its sales dropped by 2.5 percent in the first three months of the year because of challenging conditions on some markets.
The biggest US automaker reported 2.36 million vehicles sold worldwide in the first quarter of 2016, down 2.5 percent compared to a year ago, mainly because of the serious recession around South America, slowdown on some Asian markets and also because of a lower demand for mini-commercial vehicles in China. However, GM and its joint ventures slightly managed to stay above par in China, helped by their SUV line-up, delivering 964,000 vehicles in the first quarter, an increase of just 0.2 percent. In Europe, sales of Opel and its Vauxhall sister brand surprisingly increased by 8.4 percent to more than 300,000 units so far this year, where the recently awarded European “Car of the Year 2016” new-generation Astra compact received more than 150,000 orders.
As for the North American region, sales rose 1.2 percent to 800,000 units. In the US, GM continued to grow its retail share by up 7 percent, or 537,000 vehicles. “In the US, our disciplined approach to increased retail sales and lower rental fleet resulted in more profitable transactions,” GM President Dan Ammann stated. The automaker said it remained committed to its plan on cutting on fleets, as it was the healthiest approach for business. According to North America President Alan Batey, the company sold about 449,000 vehicles to US rental car companies in 2014, it reached 400,000 vehicles in 2015, for the downward trend to be kept in 2016 as well.