Toyota Motor Corp outsold General Motors Co. in the United States in 2021. This is the first time the Detroit automaker has not led yearly U.S. auto sales since 1931.
Toyota sold 2.332 million vehicles in the U.S. in 2021, compared to 2.218 million vehicles for General Motors. GM's U.S. sales slid 13% in 2021, plummeting 43% in the fourth quarter. Toyota sales, in contrast, rose 10% in 2021.
A shortage of semiconductors used heavily in vehicles, shook up the auto industry in 2021 and forced automakers to focus on their most profitable models.
GM reported that it expects U.S. economic growth to boost U.S. total light-duty vehicle industry sales from around 15 million in 2021 to around 16 million in 2022.
Senior Vice President Jack Hollis said in a statement that the automaker is “grateful” for its loyal customers but added “being No. 1 is never a focus or priority.”
GM Spokesman Jim Cain said the company had strong sales full-size SUVs and pickup trucks as it focused on profitability over volume. Cain suggested that as the supply of semiconductors improves, so will sales.
Cox Automotive forecasts U.S. new vehicle sales will be down 32% in December over December 2020, marking the slowest pace since May 2020, when COVID-19 shut down the country.
Industry analysts forecast U.S. vehicle sales will remain well below the five-year average of 17.3 million from 2015-2019.
IHS Markit forecasts U.S. sales will reach nearly 15.5 million in 2022, up an estimated 2.6% from the projected 2021 level of approximately 15.1 million vehicles.
Auto sales prices have skyrocketed. Average transaction prices for new vehicles hit another new record in November at $45,872, compared with $39,984 in November 2020, according to Edmunds. Vehicle prices will surpass the $30,000 mark for the first time in 2022, forecasts Edmunds.
IHS Markit forecasts worldwide new light vehicle sales of nearly 82.4 million in 2022, up 3.7%.