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GM's First-Quarter US Sales Dip on Lower Commercial Deliveries But Beats Toyota (Reuters)



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The article below is sourced from Reuters Wire Service. The views and opinions expressed in this story are those of the Reuters Wire Service and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NADA.

General Motors on Tuesday reported a drop in first-quarter U.S. vehicle sales on lower deliveries to commercial customers but managed to beat rival Toyota Motor's local unit as other automakers reported mixed results.

GM's sales fell 1.5% to 594,233 units in the first three months of the year, while Japan's Toyota said U.S. sales rose 20% to 565,098 vehicles.

The Detroit automaker said last month its fleet business, which caters to customers including car rental firms, was lagging due to availability issues around vans and some midsize trucks.

However, GM's retail sales rose 6% as demand for personal transportation remained steady but dealer inventory at the end of March was 534,479 vehicles, up from 456,686 in December.

Industry experts have flagged pricing pressure due to the rising inventory.

"While the sales and expenditure performance are impressive, it is coming at the expense of reduced retailer and manufacturer profitability as inventories of unsold vehicles rise and competitive pressures intensify," said Thomas King, president of the data and analytics division at J.D. Power, ahead of the sales data.

Average transaction prices are expected to be $44,186 in March, down 3.6% from a year ago, according to J.D. Power.

March seasonally adjusted annual rate is expected to finish near 15.5 million units, up 0.6 million over last year's pace, but down slightly from February, according to industry consultant Cox Automotive.

Meanwhile, data on electric vehicle sales reiterated easing demand. Market leader Tesla Inc reported a decline in quarterly deliveries for the first time in nearly four years.

GM's EV sales in the first quarter fell 20.5% to 16,425 units from a year earlier. The phasing out of Bolt EV also contributed to the decline.

Ford Motor, set to report auto sales later this week, said last month that EV demand is "much lower than the industry expected," and added it would rely on demand for hybrid models "as an important part of that bridge over the next five years."

Sales of electrified vehicles, which include hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, rose about 74% to 206,850 units in the quarter, Toyota Motor North America said.

Other Asian automakers Mazda Motor and Mitsubishi reported a rise in U.S. auto sales, while Kia reported a drop. Hyundai said first-quarter sales rose 0.2%.

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