Only four months after its initial public offering, General Motors (NYSE:GM) said first-quarter sales surged 26%, fueled by March demand for Chevrolet’s all-new Cruze compact sedan and other new vehicles.
The automaker said March sales of its four brands widened 11% year-over-year, helped by fleet sales penetration of 27%, though it missed average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of 12%. In spite of a decline in incentives from February, dealers reported 206,621 total sales during the month.
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The company’s newest vehicles, including the Chevrolet Equinox, Silverado, Cruze and Volt, among others, continued to drive retail gains, up 54% in March and 74% for the quarter.
“March sales demonstrated our newest models continue to win over customers,” said Don Johnson, vice president, U.S. sales “Vehicles like the Chevrolet Cruze and Equinox put us in great position to benefit from consumer's increasing desire for fuel-efficient vehicles.”
The company was hit hard by the financial crisis and had to be bailed out in a $50 billion deal by the government. In what was the biggest IPO ever, GM reemerged from bankruptcy on November 17 with a public offering valued at $20.1 billion. It then booked its first full-year profit since 2004 in December.
Sales during the first-quarter were spurred by a 34% increase in passenger car retail sales, led by a 287% year-over-year gain in retail sales of the Cruze over the car it replaced. Total sales widened to 592,545 units compared with the year earlier period, with each of GM’s brands gaining retail and total market share.