General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Sales Fall Double Digits

General Motors and Fiat Chrysler posted double-digit-percent declines in second-quarter sales.
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General Motors  (GM) - Get Report and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) - Get Report on Wednesday reported double-digit drops in sales as the automakers contended with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.

Both companies noted the importance of online sales in the quarterly results.

The coronavirus pandemic has decimated automakers, forcing them to shut production plants worldwide in response to stay-at-home orders and social-distancing requirements.

GM's second-quarter deliveries totaled 492,489 vehicles, down 34% from 746,659 a year earlier. Retail sales for the quarter fell 24%, as a 35% decline in April was followed by 20% drops in May and June.

GM's brand declines were: Buick, 36%; Cadillac, 41%; Chevrolet, 34%; and GMC, 33%. 

"GM entered the quarter with very lean inventories and our dealers did a great job meeting customer demand, especially for pickups," Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president of sales operations. "Now, we are refilling the pipeline by quickly and safely returning production to pre-pandemic levels." 

McNeil added that "having an appropriate mix of the right vehicles combined with the benefits of enhanced shopping technologies such as Shop. Click. Drive., positions us for success in the second half of 2020.”

Separately, FCA said second-quarter sales totaled 367,086 vehicles, down 39% from 597,685 in the year-earlier second quarter. 

Fleet sales in the quarter were hit as customers initially delayed or reduced their orders. In addition, as production restarted, deliveries have been focused on the dealer channel. 

"This quarter demonstrated the resilience of the U.S. consumer," Jeff Kommor, FCA's head of U.S. sales, said in a statement. 

"Retail sales have been rebounding since April as the reopening of the economy, steady gas prices, and access to low interest loans spur people to buy."

The company's individual declines by brand were: Jeep off 27%; Ram down 35%; Chrysler fell 58%; Dodge dropped 63%; Fiat was off 54% and Alfa Romeo declined 21%.

FCA said this was the first quarter in which consumers were able to purchase their vehicles completely online through what it calls the Online Retailing Experience. 

About 20% of new sales leads now come from online retailing compared with about 1% a year earlier, the company said. 

General Motors shares at last check were off 0.8% to $25.11, while Fiat Chrysler was down 3.8% to $9.85.