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DETROIT – General Motors’ U.S. vehicle sales increased by 18.8% in the second quarter compared with subdued results a year ago when the automaker was battling supply chain issues.
The Detroit automaker reported sales Wednesday of 691,978 new vehicles from April through June. That compared with 582,401 vehicles during the second quarter of 2022. It also is a sequential increase compared with GM’s first-quarter sales of just over 600,000 new cars and trucks.
GM’s second-quarter sales, along with those of other automakers such as Honda Motor, Nissan Motor and Stellantis, indicate demand for new vehicles remains strong as inventories of cars and trucks improve from historically low levels during the coronavirus pandemic and supply chain problems.
Auto industry forecasters project U.S. new vehicle sales to have increased 16% to 18% during the second quarter compared with a year earlier.
Cox Automotive recently increased its full-year new vehicle sales forecast to 15 million for the broader industry, a gain of nearly 8% from 2022, when sales finished at 13.9 million due to low inventory levels and inflated prices.
GM said retail sales increased 15% through the first half of the year, while its fleet business jumped 30%.
GM maintained its status as the country’s largest automaker through the first six months of the year, with sales up 18.3% to nearly 1.3 million vehicles. The Detroit carmaker regained that decades-long title last year after Toyota Motor took the top spot in 2021. That year was the first time since 1931 that GM wasn’t the bestselling car company in the U.S.
On Wednesday, Toyota reported sales of more than 1 million vehicles in the U.S. through June.
GM’s EV sales topped 36,300 during the first half of this year, including 15,652 in the second quarter. EVs accounted for just 2.8% of the company’s total sales during the first half of the year.
The company previously said it planned to produce 50,000 EVs during the first half of the year, followed by 100,000 during the second half of the year.
A GM spokesman reconfirmed those targets Wednesday but did not immediately comment on whether the company had met them. Sales trail production due to logistics and inventory on dealer lots. Further production details are expected to be discussed when the automaker reports second-quarter earnings on July 25, the spokesman said.
GM has been criticized for not ramping up production of its EVs quickly enough, as Tesla continues to dominate the U.S. market.
The vast majority of GM’s EV sales during the first six months of the year – roughly 93% – were sales of its outgoing Chevrolet Bolt models, which will be discontinued later this year. GM has been slow to increase production of its new EVs such as the GMC Hummer and Cadillac Lyriq. The new EVs and their batteries are collectively known as Ultium vehicles.
GM CEO Mary Barra reiterated last week that the company’s output of newer EVs has been constrained due to domestic production of its batteries that’s taking longer than expected.
“When people ask me if I could push a button and do something over, I would have done EVs faster, but I am where I am and we’re going as fast as we can,” she said June 26 during the Aspen Ideas Festival.
GM has several important EV launches during the second half of this year including new versions of the Chevrolet Silverado, Blazer and Equinox. It’s also launching a new electric delivery van and a $300,000-plus bespoke Cadillac EV called the Celestiq.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal News Group, of which CNBC is a part, is the media partner of the Aspen Ideas Festival.