GM Has Plenty of Room for Improvement in an Undervalued Segment
General Motors is one of the most successful automakers. One of the reasons for its success is that it competes in almost every segment. That includes cars the average American consumer drives — such as trucks, SUVs, and sedans — and commercial vehicles. Based on recent sales data, GM has plenty of room to grow in the van segment. Here’s a look at how the brand’s commercial vans are performing.
GM’s 2 work vans aren’t selling great
The latest sales figures for the work van segment are out, and there isn’t much good news for GM. As a whole, the segment is doing well. However, GM’s two options in the work van segment — the Chevy Express and the GMC Savana — aren’t really competitive with the best-selling vans.
In fact, both GM vans have some negative distinctions. For example, although most work vans saw year-over-year growth, the Express was the only van that didn’t. So far in 2023, Chevy has sold just about 8,600 units of the Express. That’s a roughly 3% drop in year-over-year sales, as the automaker sold about 8,900 units in the first quarter of 2022.
The Savana, meanwhile, is the worst-selling work van in America. In the first quarter of 2023, GMC sold 4,800 units of the van. That said, that’s a significant improvement over the van’s sales last year. In the first quarter of 2022, GMC sold only about 3,000 units of the Savana. That means the GMC work van saw a 61% increase in sales year-over-year, GM Authority reports.
The work van segment is undervalued, but it’s a good-sized market
Full-size work vans aren’t a segment that most consumers think about, and they’re different from the minivans many Americans know. Because work vans are designed for commercial purposes, they’re not flashy either, and they often don’t have many bells and whistles that might appeal to the average driver.
Regardless, many companies and consumers need and want work vans like the Express and the Savana. They’re a useful alternative to work trucks, so the work van segment is surprisingly large. In the first quarter of the year, the segment sold a combined 74,000 units. That’s a massive 62% increase from last year, when the segment combined to sell about 45,000 units.
Here’s how GM’s two work vans compare to the most popular work van right now
Right now, Ford dominates the work van segment. However, Ram competes in the segment as well, and its option, the ProMaster, is doing well too. In the first quarter of the year, Ram sold nearly 18,000 units of the work van. That’s an 89% increase from last year, and that’s the biggest year-over-year growth in sales out of any model in the segment. The ProMaster’s sales number also makes it the second best-selling option in the segment.
Meanwhile, Ford has two options in the work van segment, and they’re both selling better than GM’s options. The E-Series sold about 11,000 units in the first quarter of 2023, for a 50% year-over-year increase.
Finally, there’s the Transit, the best-selling van in America. In the first three months of 2023, Ford sold 32,000 Transit units. That’s an 86% increase from last year, when the company sold 17,000 units. That massive sales number also means the Transit is responsible for 43% of the segment’s sales. For comparison, even when the sales numbers for GM’s two vans are combined, they account for only 18% of segment sales.