For the primary time since 1931, Common Motors Co. isn’t the top-selling automaker within the U.S.
The Detroit-based firm misplaced its crown to Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp., which boosted gross sales 10% final yr regardless of a 28% decline within the fourth quarter. With 2.3 million items offered within the U.S. in 2021, Toyota narrowly outpaced GM’s 2.2 million.
The Japanese carmaker mentioned outselling GM probably isn’t sustainable. “That’s not our objective,” Jack Hollis, a senior vp in control of U.S. gross sales for Toyota, mentioned on a convention name with reporters.
The change on the high displays the volatility of a yr many carmakers will probably be completely happy to go away behind. From snarled transport traces to semiconductor shortages, the challenges of 2021 left producers struggling to maintain up with demand. Whereas industrywide gross sales probably rose modestly from 2020, provide constraints shattered any hope of a fast restoration from the early pandemic hunch.
Carmakers probably offered a seasonally adjusted annual charge of about 12.5 million new automobiles in December, down 23% from a yr earlier, based on the common forecast of six market researchers surveyed by Bloomberg.
The extent of the problems grew to become extra clear on Tuesday as most main automakers reported U.S. gross sales for the fourth quarter and full yr. Ford Motor Co. is predicted to launch its figures Wednesday.
For the complete yr, auto gross sales probably got here to 14.9 million automobiles, a 2.5% bounce from the coronavirus-stricken days of 2020, based on Cox Automotive.
The yr wasn’t with out its shiny spots. The stock challenges helped push some consumers to more-profitable, option-laden fashions, whereas the mainstream embrace of electrical automobiles accelerated. Certainly, Tesla Inc. on Sunday blew previous Wall Road’s expectations with document quarterly international deliveries.
Different automakers will probably be hard-pressed to match that form of efficiency. We’ll check out the outcomes as the main producers report all through the day.
GM Loses Floor
GM’s gross sales for the yr declined 13%, weighed down by a 43% plunge within the last quarter. Chevy Silverado gross sales fell greater than 30% and GMC Sierra gross sales tumbled 21% within the quarter. The auto big was fast responsible chip constraints for its woes, saying they put a 13% drag on gross sales.
That compelled GM to be strategic about the place it devoted provides. In a dismal quarter, gross sales of the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade giant sport utility automobiles all had been up. These are essentially the most worthwhile automobiles the corporate sells.
Crucially for traders, GM mentioned semiconductor provides bought higher towards year-end, and the corporate forecast additional enhancements in 2022.
Toyota Takes Over
Toyota’s robust 2021 efficiency was buoyed by gross sales of sedans such because the Corolla and Camry. Whereas the automaker’s top-selling car remained the RAV4, the compact SUV’s gross sales really dropped 5% for the yr. Gross sales of the Corolla and Camry rose 5% and 6.6%, respectively.
Whereas last tallies for the business are nonetheless to return, Toyota probably gained one level of market share within the fourth quarter, giving it 15.5% of gross sales and the highest spot. It’s the primary time GM hasn’t been No. 1 since 1931, when it beat out Ford.
Honda Crossover Leads Deliveries
Very like Toyota, Honda Motor Co. managed to spice up gross sales for the yr regardless of a pointy drop on the finish. December’s tally fell 23% to 105,068 automobiles, whereas 2021 gross sales rose 8.9% to 1.47 million.
Honda’s plucky CR-V compact crossover led deliveries, rising 8.3%. The Civic compact and Accord midsize sedans additionally did effectively, persevering with the dominance of Asian manufacturers within the phase. Amongst Honda’s greatest gainers: its Ridgeline pickup and Passport midsize SUV, each of which had been redesigned to showcase a extra “rugged” look.
Hyundai’s Low-cost Stylish
Hyundai Motor Co.’s namesake model was one of many massive winners final yr, logging a 19% enhance in gross sales from a yr earlier. The Korean automaker did lose some steam within the waning months of 2021, nevertheless, with a 15% drop in fourth-quarter deliveries to 152,446 automobiles. For the month of December alone, its gross sales fell 23%.
U.S. retail gross sales had been the corporate’s highest ever, buoyed by demand for the budget-friendly Venue subcompact crossover mannequin, which begins at lower than $20,000, in addition to for the Kona subcompact SUV and Tucson compact SUV.
Hyundai had comparable stock ranges as Toyota and different Japanese rivals, however availability fell late within the yr, mentioned Randy Parker, senior vp of gross sales at Hyundai Motor America. The corporate tailored by pushing sellers to promote extra automobiles they didn’t but have.
“You get higher at on-line retailing and get higher at pre-selling your pipeline,” Parker mentioned in an interview. “That’s precisely what we did, and that helped gasoline our success in a really tough yr.”
–With help from Gabrielle Coppola and Keith Naughton.