Rising interest rates and near-record prices have made it hard for many U.S. consumers to afford new cars and trucks. In March, car buyers paid an average of $48,008 for new vehicles, up nearly $1,800 from March 2022, according to Kelley Blue Book, a market researcher. The average monthly payment on new cars last month was $784, compared with $683 a year ago.
While G.M.’s U.S. sales rose in the first quarter, signs of softening consumer demand in the broader market have started to appear. Last week, AutoNation, the largest auto retailer in the United States, said its new-vehicles sales fell 2 percent in the first quarter.
“There is a lot of mixed economic signals in the market, and within auto retail, which do warrant, I think, a more cautionary approach than the past few years,” AutoNation’s chief executive, Mike Manley, said in a conference call.
G.M. is hoping for a surge in sales of electric vehicles later this year. In the first quarter, the company sold more than 20,000 E.V.s in the United States. Mr. Jacobson said G.M. expected E.V. sales in the first half of the year to top 50,000, and about double that in the second half.
“We feel good about the demand being robust for the electric vehicles we are producing,” he said.