Japanese carmaker Toyota led US car gross sales in 2021, in response to figures launched Tuesday, overtaking Common Motors for the primary time as a scarcity of semiconductors roils the automotive trade.
The shift atop the rankings got here after a 12 months during which meeting traces had been suffering from 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 the USA by 10.4 % to 2.3 million, whereas Common Motors suffered a 12.9 % drop to 2.2 million.
Toyota noticed small annual features 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 increased 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 “vital occasion” given GM’s longtime management.
In an inventory-challenged market, Toyota additionally could have benefited from a smaller vendor community in contrast with GM, Ford and Stellantis, which owns the Chrysler manufacturers, he stated.
“The bigger vendor networks of GM/Ford/Stellantis could have confronted a higher problem of preserving the precise product in the precise marketplace for the precise purchaser,” Chesbrough stated in an electronic mail. “And, consequently, gross sales could have been trimmed as a result of consumers could not discover the product they wished.”
Cox has projected 2021 US gross sales of 14.9 million, up 2.5 % from the 2020 stage however a lot under the five-year common. The consultancy has pointed to sturdy demand however anemic inventories, saying “demand is wholesome however… you’ll be able to’t promote what you do not 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 element affected by closures at factories in Asia because of Covid lockdowns or fires at manufacturing websites.
Whereas GM has acknowledged that low automotive inventories are an issue, Chief Govt Mary Barra and different executives have touted sturdy car pricing, which has enabled it to stay worthwhile whilst gross sales sag.
GM’s inventories recovered considerably throughout 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 diminished stock ranges on account of the semiconductor scarcity. These stock ranges are starting to recuperate,” stated GM Chief Economist Elaine Buckberg.
“Customers wish to drive as a lot as earlier than the pandemic, primarily based on current excessive ranges of car utilization. Excessive car utilization and deferred gross sales imply pent-up demand for brand new autos within the hundreds of thousands and constructing. That pent-up demand will assist gross sales as car provide improves.”
Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ govt director of insights, alluded to document pricing at GM in a word launched Monday that previewed the annual gross sales rankings.
“There isn’t any query that this can be a outstanding feat for Toyota, however this isn’t possible an indication of a long-term change: GM has a bonus in that it has extra manufacturers and merchandise for shoppers to select from, particularly giant vans and SUVs, which have solely elevated in recognition through the years,” Caldwell stated.
Caldwell famous that curiosity stays elevated in GM’s aggressive push into electrical autos. On Wednesday, Barra is scheduled to ship a digital keynote speech on the Shopper Electronics Present to unveil an electrical model of the Silverado.
In an announcement, Toyota pointed to $3 billion in new US investments concentrating on EV growth, whereas Ford stated Tuesday it’ll practically double manufacturing capability for the electrical model of its top-selling F-150 pickup truck.
New auto gross sales up in 2021, however great distance earlier than full restoration
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Toyota overtakes GM to guide US auto gross sales for 2021 (2022, January 4)
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