GMO sales fell during the year, but recovered to pre-pandemic levels in the fourth quarter

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General Motors Co.’s total fourth-quarter sales rose 5%, returning to pre-pandemic levels, and total sales for 2020 fell 12%, the automaker said Tuesday. GM shares GM, + 1.45% added to earnings after the news. The company said it gained market share last year, and is “especially optimistic” for the new year as it will have full-year production of newly redesigned full-size SUVs under its belt.

GM said it expects “a broader US economic recovery to continue in 2021.” “We expect a turning point for the US economy in the spring,” Elaine Buckberg, GM’s chief economist, said in a statement. “Increased vaccination rates and warmer weather should allow consumers and businesses to return to a more normal range of activities, boosting the job market, consumer confidence and demand for cars.” GM said it sold 771,323 vehicles in the fourth quarter. Retail deliveries, which do not include fleet sales, increased 12% in the quarter, GM said. GM sold 2,547,339 vehicles in 2020, down 12% in total deliveries and 6% in retail deliveries. Retail sales began to rebound in May and reached pre-pandemic levels in the fourth quarter, the automaker said. Fleet sales, mainly to car rental companies and other large companies, “are recovering but they are still much lower, especially daily rental deliveries,” GM said. Average transaction prices set fourth-quarter and full-year records at $ 41,886 and $ 39,229, GM said. GM shares have gained 13% in the last 12 months, compared to a 15% increase for the S&P 500 Index. SPX, + 0.13%