GM’s U.S. sales rose 4.8% in the fourth quarter in an otherwise dismal year

2020 Chevrolet Corvette


U.S. auto sales for General Motors declined 11.8% in 2020 but showed strong signs of a recovery in the fourth quarter, the company said Tuesday.

GM’s domestic sales rose 4.8% during the last three months of last year compared with the same period in 2019. Retail sales for the entire auto industry returned to pre-pandemic levels in the fourth quarter, the company said. Commercial fleet customers also started to return toward the end of the year, it said.

GM’s strong fourth quarter is likely a good sign for the auto industry overall. The majority of automakers are scheduled to report their U.S. sales on Tuesday. Domestic vehicle sales in 2020 were expected to be off by at least 15% compared with 2019.

GM said it gained market share among retail and fleet customers in the fourth quarter and for the full year.

“GM outperformed the industry in the quarter and the full year by a significant margin because our manufacturing and supply chain teams and dealers helped keep people safe at work and our launches on track,” Steve Carlisle, GM executive vice president and president, GM North America, said in a release.

The automaker’s sales during the year, including the fourth quarter, were largely led by sales of its pickup truck and SUVs. Other notable increases included the Chevrolet Corvette, up 20.2%; all-electric Chevrolet Bolt EV, up 26.4%; and Encore GX, a small crossover, topping the sales charts for Buick in its first year.

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