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Car brands: General Motors - statistics & facts

General Motors was the leading automotive manufacturer in the United States in 2020, based on its estimated market shares of over 17 percent. The company, initially founded in 1908 before being restructured in 2009, owns several of the most iconic U.S.-built car brands, including Buick, Chevrolet, and Cadillac. Chevrolet is GM's most successful brand, with its Equinox model ranking eighth among the best-selling cars and sport utility vehicles of the country during the first half of 2021. Although the automaker assembles most of its cars in the United States, GM also manufactures a large percentage of its cars in Asia: Most of GM’s cars dedicated to the Chinese market are produced locally, and a Buick was the first car to be produced in GM’s Shanghai plant in 1998.

A preference for the North American market

GM’s global sales have been dropping since 2016, reaching some 6.8 million in 2020. This 11.5 percent drop year-on-year was in part due to an overall decline in vehicle sales, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Employee numbers followed a similar trend, slumping between 2016 and 2020, with the steepest drop recorded in 2016. The manufacturer reported a loss of around 257 million U.S. dollars from its operations in Europe during that same year, eventually selling its Opel and Vauxhall brands to the PSA Group in March 2017. During the automotive industry crisis in 2008 and 2009, GM became vulnerable to the market recession. In 2009, the company was able to re-emerge due to a Chapter 11 reorganization backed by the government, allowing a “new GM” to purchase operational assets from the “old GM”. GM’s sales and revenue streams were also impacted by the global health crisis in 2020, dipping by some 11 percent to just under 122.5 billion U.S. dollars. This revenue decrease was most visible in markets outside of North America, where sales earnings contracted by approximately 28 percent. GM’s focus on its domestic market led to advertising expenditures reaching over 2.9 billion U.S. dollars in the U.S. market in 2019, over 79 percent of its advertising spending worldwide.

Buick leads the way in customer satisfaction

Buick was perceived by vehicle owners as the fourth most reliable car brand in the U.S. as of November 2020, above the manufacturer’s best-selling brand Chevrolet and two of its main competitors: Ford and Honda. Customer satisfaction in 2021 was also within the industry average for the company’s brands. GMC’s index score was on par with the average of 78, while Buick and Cadillac both scored one point below the standard.

GM has also been working closely with Honda, the fourth best-selling brand in the U.S. behind Chevrolet, Toyota, and Ford. Both brands are projected to share an electric vehicle platform in North America to lower its costs. Honda, recording some 13.17 trillion Japanese yen in 2021 revenue (around 120.48 billion U.S. dollars with an exchange rate of one Japanese yen equal 0.0091 U.S. dollars as of September 15, 2021), went head-to-head with Chevrolet in the North American market. While Chevrolet was in the lead for U.S. sales, Honda recorded a higher volume of cars sold in Canada in 2020.

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