A Preference for the North American MarketGM’s global sales have been dropping since 2016, reaching some 6.3 million in 2021. This year-over-year eight percent drop was partly due to an overall decline in vehicle sales, accelerated by the global automotive semiconductor shortage. However, while overall sales declined, the company’s annual revenue increased. GM North America accounted for over 89 percent of GM’s 2021 revenue. The United States—where GM is headquartered—was the largest market for the automaker. Over 15 percent of the U.S. market were vehicles sold by one of the company’s brands, making it the best-selling automotive manufacturer in the country.
The Chevrolet Silverado was also one of the best-selling light trucks in the U.S. Light trucks have been steadily gaining popularity in the country, and GM has invested in being one of the segments’ leaders. The GMC Hummer EV was among the few electric pickup trucks on the market, and a December 2020 survey found it appealed to around 28 percent of consumers—just four percentage points behind Tesla. The Chevrolet Bolt was also among the best-selling plug-in electric cars in the United States in 2021, ensuring GM’s relevance in the booming U.S. electric vehicle market.
Factors Linked to a High U.S. Consumer SatisfactionBuick was perceived by vehicle owners as the fifth most reliable car brand in the U.S. as of November 2021, 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. Buick’s index score was on par with the industry average of 77, while Chevrolet and Cadillac both scored above the standard.
One of the factors behind this success with consumers is General Motors’ advertising spending in the United States. Though the company has been reducing its advertising expenses since 2016, it was the automobile manufacturer with the highest expenditures in the country in 2021. The automaker spent on average 864 U.S. dollars per each Cadillac-branded vehicles sold, an expense which dropped to an average of 675 U.S. dollars per Buick vehicle.
Part of General Motors’ popularity in the U.S. market could also be due to vehicle availability. The monthly automotive inventory-to-sales ratio crashed in April 2020 and has yet to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the depleted chip supply. However, American brands tended to have better vehicle availability as of June 2022. Cadillac and Buick both recorded 51 days of supply, while Chevrolet reported 41 days of supply, and GMC had the lowest availability at 37.5 days of supply. In contrast, Toyota vehicles only had 21 days of supply. The limited vehicle selection was the leading factor impacting car buyers’ experience in September 2021.