At the beginning of each month, auto manufacturers release detailed sales numbers of each of their models for the previous month. These reports are then dissected by industry experts to find consumer spending habits and purchasing trends. In an unorthodox move, General Motors has announced it will no longer publish these reports making it the second American car company not to do so.
The parent company of four car brands believes that the reports do not properly reflect its business operations, according to the Wall Street Journal. In addition to owning Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC, GM has branched out to new technologies. In 2016, it made a substantial investment in ridesharing startup, Lyft. It then acquired Cruise Automation, an autonomous vehicle development company. Its decision to cease monthly reporting could snowball toward other automakers to do the same.
Monthly sales reporting is a double-edged sword. Fluctuations in sales volume can increase or decrease market share not to mention affect company image and employee morale. Since the new year, GM has seen both ups and downs. A minor increase in year-to-year sales in January was followed by a sharp decline in February. Last month, sales surged once again sending the stock price up by 2.5 percent at the time of this writing.
GM's next update, which will be issued in July, will cover second quarter sales. The broader report will be more expansive in terms of sheer information but will provide greater insight into the company's performance. The new method will force analysts to speculate and wait, however, if others are to follow, then this may become the norm. Just look at Tesla.