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GM Sales of Cobalt up 16% in June



Published: Fri, July 8, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Cobalt was on the top 10 list of vehicles sold in the United States in June.

LORDSTOWN -- Sales of the Lordstown-built Chevrolet Cobalt increased 16 percent from May to June and 43 percent over the number of Chevrolet Cavaliers sold in June 2004, according to Automotive News.

General Motors reported that it sold 27,444 Cobalts in June after customers bought 23,649 in May. A year ago in June, sales of the car the Cobalt replaced -- the Lordstown-built Cavalier -- totaled 19,163, according to the Automotive News Data Center.

Cobalt sales continued to blossom during a month when overall GM sales were up 46.9 percent, pushed by a promotion allowing customers to buy cars and trucks at the employee price.

In June, the Cobalt cracked the top 10 vehicle sellers list in the United States. It placed ninth, just behind the Ford Explorer and ahead of the Ford Taurus.

Great prospects

Jeff Brodoski, an auto sales analyst for J.D. Power Associates, said that the Cobalt has exceeded sales expectations during the last three months. "It's been pretty impressive," he said of the car's sales performance of late.

Overall, he still expects GM to sell about 225,000 Cobalts, about what he predicted early this year.

The only stumbling block could be in the fall when the retro design Chevrolet HHR hits the showroom. Brodoski said that the HHR is being built on the same Delta platform as the Cobalt and will be in the same price range, so "they might steal a few sales."

Overall, Brodoski said that response to the Cobalt has been good. He added that he thinks a new product to replace the Cavalier was long overdue, and that the Cobalt is showing to be a good replacement.

Customer satisfaction

Tim Arbutina, sales manager for Spitzer Chevrolet in North Jackson, counts the reasons why he's pleased with Cobalt sales and the overall product.

For one, "We're seeing customers that we haven't seen before -- people who hadn't considered a GM product before," Arbutina said. These are people who might otherwise be looking at import products, he added.

Showroom visitors like Cobalt's overall quality, comfortable ride, safety features and fuel economy, Arbutina said. He noted that feedback from customers -- including his brother -- is that the Cobalt gets about 34 miles per gallon, something people are looking for as the price of gasoline continues to rise.

Initial Cobalt-owner response has been excellent -- not one complaint, he said.

Arbutina says his only complaint is that he can't get enough of the product. The North Jackson car lot has about a 15-day supply of Cobalts and he'd like a 45-day supply.

Overall, GM has sold 102,981 Cobalts since the first of the year. During the first six months of 2004, 103,918 Cavaliers were sold.




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