NEW YORK— According to data released Tuesday, Toyota surpassed General Motors (GM) in U.S. car sales for the first time in 2021, as a shortage of semiconductors rocked the sector. The company’s rise to the top of the rankings after a year lacking critical computer chips on production lines resulted in a sharp drop in fourth-quarter sales for both companies.
However, Toyota managed to increase its annual US sales by 10.4% to 2.3 million units, while General Motors fell 12.9% to 2.2 million units. Toyota has seen small annual improvements for its two best-selling sedans, the Camry and Corolla, as well as a slight drop in sales of its Rav4 compact SUV, which is known to do better at the chip issue than some of its competitors. Sales of its Highlander full-size SUV increased in 2021.
GM, which is more dependent on trucks than Toyota, saw annual sales of its Silverado pickup trucks fall 10.8% and GMC’s truck lineup fell 6.4%. According to the industry newspaper Automotive News, GM has been the leading automaker in the United States since 1931, when it overtook Ford.
Analysts predict high prices will prevail as the sellers’ market continues, created by a lack of inventory. According to J.D. Power, the average price paid for a new car, was a record $ 45,700 in December, up 20% from a year earlier. According to J.D. Power, high used car prices translate into high new car costs as buyers who sell legacy cars have more money to work with. According to the company, a typical trade-in-car was valued at more than $ 10,200 in December, up from about $4,600 a year earlier.
Keeping in mind GM’s historic leadership, Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive, stressed that GM’s declining focus on sedans has led to a loss of market share and described Toyota’s rise as “a major development.” He added that Toyota may have benefited from a smaller dealership network amid limited stocks in the market compared to GM, Ford and Stellantis, which own the Chrysler brands.
In an email, Chesbrough stated, “The larger GM/Ford/Stellantis dealerships may have a big problem keeping the right product in the right market for the right customer.” “As a result, sales could have dropped because buyers were unable to find the items they were looking for.”
On the other hand, GM reported a roughly 13% drop in revenue for 2.2 million vehicles delivered in 2021 as a semiconductor shortage damaged the company’s manufacturing operations and left dealers with fewer vehicles to sell. According to the industry newspaper Automotive News, GM has been the number one selling car in the United States since 1931. Toyota has benefited from an accumulation of computer chips that are used in a variety of automotive electronics. The company was betting on the recovering US auto market earlier than most other automakers and has cut component orders and production less dramatically than its competitors, putting it in a better position for possible consumer demand growth.
Other winners include Asian and European companies, as well as Tesla, which said on Sunday that global shipments in 2021 increased 87 percent to 936,000 vehicles. Tesla does not categorize sales by area. Cox calculated that its US market share increased to 2.2 percent last year, on par with Mercedes-Benz from 1.4 percent a year earlier.
Hyundai Motor America’s president of national sales, Randy Parker, said the automaker has taken many initiatives to address market challenges, including relying heavily on online sales operations and pushing dealerships to sell cars that have not yet entered the batch.
He believes Hyundai would continue to strengthen its efforts until 2022, hoping to expand on its current market share gains.