U.S. Auto Sales: General Motors sales up 5% in December; 2011 volume up 14% image

General Motors Co (GM.N) U.S. sales in December rose 5 percent to 234,351 vehicles. The Detroit based automaker said sales for the entire year were up 14 percent to more than 2.5 million units.

In December, retail deliveries were up 2 percent compared with a very strong December 2010, and accounted for 81 percent of GM sales. Deliveries to fleets were up 17 percent.

“We continue to believe that the industry will grow; it will grow slowly, along with the economy and it will be flat to slightly up in 2012,” U.S. sales chief Don Johnson said at a Barclays conference in New York. The speech was webcast online.

“We actually like this slow growth,” he added. “For us, it is a better environment within which to plan and we prefer to have less uncertainty, less volatility.”

The company said total passenger car sales in December increased 12 percent, while sales of crossover vehicles decreased 14 percent.

The Chevrolet Cruze saw sales increase 54% while sales for the Chevrolet Camaro rose 20%. Sales of the Chevrolet Volt — currently at the center of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation — soared to 1,529 units, making December its best month ever.

Shares of GM were down 1.3% amid broader weakness Wednesday, and at $20.78 shares remain well below the Treasury Department’s break-even point on its remaining 32% stake in the automaker.

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