Toyota set to overtake GM as US auto sales leader

This is another sign that US automakers have lost their dominance in their home market.

As recently as 2005, Toyota was No. 4 in US sales, with a combined 57% of US sales between GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler at the time. But in 2021, GM, Ford and Stelantis – the European automaker that owns Chrysler – had only 38% of the US market between them in the first nine months of the year. Even adding in Tesla only US automakers only get over 40% of sales.

Both Toyota and GM are set to report year-end sales on Tuesday. general manager ,GM, sales have lagged Toyota’s ,tm, During the first nine months, and its fourth-quarter results are expected to lag behind Toyota’s as well. Both companies anticipate a sharp decline in sales in the last quarter.

GM fell slightly behind Toyota in second-quarter sales, and it was far behind in the third quarter. Toyota is forecast by Cox Automotive to report a 31% drop in sales in the fourth quarter — but GM expects sales to drop 46%, which will allow Toyota to maintain its lead.

According to experts, whether Toyota will be able to maintain the lead in US sales in future years is uncertain.

“I don’t expect Toyota to necessarily maintain this lead,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of Industry Insights at Edmunds. “It’s not like GM has been doing something magical all these years. They have more brands to sell.”

GM suggested it expects to return to the lead soon.

“Semiconductor shortages, among other things, created an unprecedented set of circumstances in 2021,” the company said. “Still, GM continues to expand its lead in full-size pickups and SUVs. And 2022 begins with gradual supply chain improvements, and that should lead to growth in 2002 as we launch a number of new vehicles — including EVs.” and redesigned pickups.”

lack of chip

The lack of computer chips caused both automakers to slow or temporarily halt production at many factories. This cut inventory for dealerships and pushed car prices to record highs.

The continued tight supply of chips in 2022 could force automakers and much of the rest of the industry to manufacture less vehicles than needed to meet demand.

“Chips are still the wild card for this year,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at Cox Automotive.

Cox Automotive forecasts a 24% decline in the US new car sales industry in the fourth quarter compared to a year ago.

Krebs said part of GM’s sales gains in previous years was that it sold its cars to businesses in fleet sales, such as rental car companies, for less than the retail price typically paid by consumers. But with the limited supply of cars, fleet sales have almost disappeared this year, she said.

horse race

Krebs said horse racing among automakers is something that gets attention in the industry but not much from car buyers.

“I can’t tell you how many buyers don’t even know whether Chevy is part of GM or that Lexus is part of Toyota,” she said.

Toyota took the global lead in auto sales from GM in 2007, and both went back and forth on global sales leadership for a few years, and Toyota most recently passed on to GM in 2012. Now the race for global sales is between Toyota and Toyota. Volkswagen.
Car sales fall due to chip shortage, supply disrupted
But GM, which took the top sales title back from Ford in 1927, has been able to maintain its US sales lead through other difficult periods. These include 2019, when members of the United Auto Workers union closed GM with a nearly six-week strike, and 2009, when GM was forced to file for bankruptcy – either temporarily or permanently. from the closure of several US plants, the shutting down of its weak brands and the shedding of more than 1,000 dealerships.
Caldwell said the outlook for GM appears brighter than its current woes. It’s betting big on an all-electric future, and Toyota is catching up with its EV plans.

“If EVs and autonomous vehicles are the future, GM is positioning itself quite well,” she said.

Toyota, which makes 70% of the cars and trucks sold in the United States at its five US plants, issued a statement saying it is “grateful to our loyal customers for placing their safety and trust in Toyota and Lexus vehicles.” ” It said its sales rankings have never been a focus or priority.

“The company’s focus has always been – and will be – on having the best brand in terms of safety and quality with customers in mind,” Toyota said.

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