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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

GM’s Government Sales

Q: Did the government buy 79 percent of all vehicles sold by General Motors in June?
A: No, that viral rumor is false. All fleet customers combined — including rental car companies and state and local governments — accounted for less than one-third of GM’s June sales.



True or false?

GM Sales: Bloomberg Report.

“See the USA in your Chevrolet…………..”

79% of GM’s sales last month were government purchased

July 12th, 2012

Remember how Obama keeps telling us how he saved GM, and how our economy is getting better, it seems the car company he bought is being saved by Govt employees using our tax money to buy new cars. 79% of GM’s sales last month was government purchased.

GM’s sales figures for last month were the best since 2008, up 16% for the month of June. YIPPEE! Well, wait just a minute. It seems that those rosy sales figures are due primarily to a 79% increase in fleet sales to the U.S. government in June. That’s right. Our tax dollars are being used to pump up GM’s sales figures ahead of next month’s quarterly report so that Dear Leader can point to Government Motors as a huge success. The incestuous relationship between GM, the UAW and the Regime has never been more glaringly apparent. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. GM is unsustainable without government subsidies and will ultimately go bust again, taking billions of taxpayer dollars down with it. We bailed out General Motors to the tune of $50 billion. $30 billion of this is effectively a loss, mostly sunk into fattening the United Auto Workers union—fierce Obama supporters—while the actual bondholders were shown the elevator shaft.

Meanwhile, as News Busters reports, “We the Taxpayers are still stuck holding 500+ million shares of GM stock. Which we need to sell at $53 per. Which debuted post-bankruptcy at $33 per. And which is currently trading at just over $20 per. Meaning we’ll lose about $15 billion.”

But it gets better. Despite the overwhelming negatives, the tiny bright spot of positive June sales numbers is being heralded by Obama and the leftist press as proof the auto bailout was a “success.” Obama is now campaigning on the “success” of – the government buying cars from…the government’s car company. With our money. Americanvision says That’s like you setting up a lemonade stand for your kids. You buy them the lemons, sugar, cups and pitchers – and then buy most of the lemonade yourself.

The pressure is on Government Motors to appear financially strong as this may be the last earnings report before November elections and sets the stage for how “successful” GM is. One of GM’s past tricks to help fudge earnings numbers has been to stuff truck inventory channels. Old habits die hard at GM. According to a Bloomberg report, “GM said inventory of its full-size pickups, which will be refreshed next year, climbed to 238,194 at the end of June, a 135 days’ supply, up from 116 days at the end of May.” 135 days’ supply is huge, the accepted norm is a 60 day supply. The trick here is that GM records revenue when vehicles go into dealership.


There are a few problems with the email featured above. It is not a Bloomberg report, for one thing. Its headline is also incorrect: Government purchases were not 79 percent of all GM sales in June.

What is true is that “GM’s sales to government fleet customers were up 79 percent year over year in June,” according to James Cain, the company’s financial news manager. And those “government” customers include federal, state and local agencies.

Moreover, purchases by GM’s fleet customers, including all government agencies as well as businesses, accounted for less than one-third of the company’s sales in June. An actual July Bloomberg report said that “GM sales to fleet customers, such as governments and rental car companies, rose 36 percent last month, making up 32 percent of the company’s sales.”

GM’s Cain added that “government fleet sales account for only about three percent of GM’s total U.S. sales” from January through July of this year. And about three-fourths of the fleet sales, Cain said, are to state and local agencies, which have been purchasing an increasing amount of police vehicles. Actually, state and local agency purchases are up 36 percent for the year, so far, while purchases by the federal government are down by 3.5 percent, he said.

The confusion over GM’s government sales may stem from a July post from the National Legal and Policy Center, which said that “government purchases of GM vehicles rose a whopping 79 percent in June.” Readers may have thought that was a month-to-month increase, but author Mark Modica told us he was referring to a year-to-year increase. Either way, that’s not the same thing as saying that “79 percent of GM’s sales last month were government purchased.”

— D’Angelo Gore

Correction, Sept. 17: This post originally said that a story by the National Legal and Policy Center made the inaccurate statement that “government purchases of GM vehicles rose a whopping 79 percent in June.” Mark Modica, the author of the story, told us that he was, in fact, referring to the increase as a year-over-year figure, and not a month-to-month increase. The article has been changed accordingly.


Cain, James, General Motors financial news manager. Emails sent to FactCheck.org. 6 Sep 2012.

Trudell, Craig. “GM, Chrysler Sees June U.S. Auto Sales Beating Estimates.” Bloomberg. 3 Jul 2012.

Modica, Mark. “GM’s Government Fleet Sales and Truck Inventory Rise.” National Legal and Policy Center. 5 Jul 2012.