General Motors Co. is not the top-selling automaker in the United States for the first time since 1931.
The Detroit-based corporation was dethroned by Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp., which increased sales by 10% last year despite a 28% drop in the fourth quarter. Toyota sold 2.3 million vehicles in the United States in 2021, just outpacing GM’s 2.2 million.
The Japanese carmaker said outselling GM likely isn’t sustainable. “That is not our goal,” Jack Hollis, a senior vice president in charge of U.S. sales for Toyota, said on a conference call with reporters.
The change at the top illustrates the volatility of a year that many automakers will be relieved to put behind. The problems of 2021 left manufacturers battling to keep up with demand, from congested shipping lines to chip shortages. While industrywide sales are expected to rise marginally beginning in 2020, supply constraints have crushed any hopes of a speedy recovery from the Covid_19 pandemic.
According to the average projection of six market researchers polled by Bloomberg, carmakers sold around 12.5 million new vehicles in December, a 23 percent decrease from the previous year.
According to Cox Automotive, total auto sales for the year were likely 14.9 million vehicles, up 2.5% from the coronavirus-plagued days of 2020.
GM’s sales fell 13% year on year, driven down by a 43 percent drop in the final quarter. In the third quarter, Chevy Silverado sales plunged more than 30%, while GMC Sierra sales fell 21%. The automaker quickly blamed chip limitations for its difficulties, claiming that they slowed sales by 13%.
As a result, GM was compelled to be strategic about where it allocated supplies. Despite a poor quarter, sales of large sport utility cars such as the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade increased. These are the most profitable vehicles sold by the company.
Importantly for investors, GM stated that semiconductor supply improved near the end of the year and that the firm expects additional improvements in 2022.
Toyota is the market leader in the automobile sector surpassing General Motors Co.
Sales of cars like the Corolla and Camry helped Toyota achieve a solid performance in 2021. While the RAV4 remained the company’s best-selling car, sales of the compact SUV fell 5% year over year. Corolla and Camry sales increased by 5% and 6.6 percent, respectively.
While final industry figures are still pending, Toyota is expected to increase one point of market share in the fourth quarter, putting it in first place with 15.5 percent of sales. It’s the first time GM hasn’t been No. 1 since beating Ford in 1931.