Japanese carmaker Toyota led US car gross sales in 2021, in response to figures launched Tuesday, overtaking Basic Motors for the primary time as a scarcity of semiconductors roils the automobile business.
The shift atop the rankings got here after a 12 months wherein meeting strains had been tormented by shortage of the essential laptop chips, leading to steep fourth-quarter gross sales declines for each corporations.
However Toyota nonetheless managed to develop annual gross sales in america by 10.4 % to 2.3 million, whereas Basic Motors suffered a 12.9 % drop to 2.2 million.
Toyota, which has been credited with higher administration of the chip difficulty in contrast with some rivals, noticed small annual positive aspects for 2 top-selling sedans, the Camry and the Corolla, and a modest dip in gross sales of its Rav4 compact SUV. Its full-sized Highlander SUV scored larger gross sales in 2021.
GM, which depends extra closely on vans than Toyota, noticed an annual 10.8 % drop in its Silverado pickup vans and a 6.4 % fall in its GMC truck line.
GM has held the crown because the number-one firm in US auto gross sales since 1931, when it supplanted Ford, in response to commerce publication Automotive Information.
Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive, famous that GMs’ de-emphasis of sedans has value it some market share, and characterised Toyota’s ascendance as a “important occasion” given GM’s longtime management.
In a market starved of stock, Toyota additionally might have benefited from a smaller seller community in contrast with GM, Ford and Stellantis, which owns the Chrysler manufacturers, he stated.
“The bigger seller networks of GM/Ford/Stellantis might have confronted a better problem of retaining the appropriate product in the appropriate marketplace for the appropriate purchaser,” Chesbrough stated in an electronic mail. “And, because of this, gross sales might have been trimmed as a result of consumers couldn’t discover the product they needed.”
– Semiconductor battle –
Cox has projected 2021 US gross sales of 14.9 million, up 2.5 % from the 2020 degree however a lot beneath the five-year common. The consultancy has pointed to robust demand however anemic inventories, saying “demand is wholesome however… you possibly can’t promote what you don’t have.”
A scarcity in semiconductors has been one of many emblematic provide chain issues of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Analysts have cited outsized demand for electronics as an element, however automakers have additionally seen provides of the part affected by closures at factories in Asia resulting from Covid lockdowns or fires at manufacturing websites.
Amongst different corporations reporting gross sales, Honda scored an 8.9 % rise in US gross sales final 12 months to 1.5 million automobiles, and Hyundai received a 19 % enhance to 738,081 autos.
Whereas GM has acknowledged that low automobile inventories are an issue, Chief Government Mary Barra and different executives have touted robust car pricing, which has enabled it to stay worthwhile whilst gross sales sag.
GM’s inventories recovered considerably in the course of the quarter, ending December at slightly below 200,000. That’s about 55 % greater than three months earlier, however lower than half the extent of a 12 months in the past.
“The important thing constraint for gross sales continues to be decreased stock ranges on account of the semiconductor scarcity. These stock ranges are starting to get better,” stated GM Chief Economist Elaine Buckberg.
“Customers wish to drive as a lot as earlier than the pandemic, based mostly on latest excessive ranges of auto utilization. Excessive car utilization and deferred gross sales imply pent-up demand for brand spanking new automobiles within the thousands and thousands and constructing. That pent-up demand will help gross sales as car provide improves.”
The ultimate tally for 2021 comes as US auto giants double down on electrical car investments. On Wednesday, Barra is scheduled to ship a digital keynote speech on the Client Electronics Present to unveil an electrical model of the Silverado.
In a press release, Toyota pointed to $3 billion in new US investments concentrating on EV growth, whereas Ford stated Tuesday it can almost double manufacturing capability for the electrical model of its top-selling F-150 pickup truck.