December usually marks a blowout sales month in the automotive industry, but December represented the steepest year-over-year sales decline of the year in 2021. LMC Automotive registered the decline at 27%, with the seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate of 12.4 million closing in on 2021’s low mark of 12.38 million in September.
The lowest recorded sales in December went to Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., Hyundai and Kia, which posted sales drops for the fifth consecutive month.
Ford Motor Co. sales rallied 5.8% in November, only to close the year down 17% after a dismal showing in December. Sales slid 15% at the Ford Division and dropped 51% at the Lincoln division. Still, the automaker finished 2021 with four-quarter deliveries of 504,138 to grab the award for best-selling automaker in the quarter.
General Motors saw a 43% decline in fourth quarter sales. The company reports volume off 45% at Chevrolet, 38% at GMS, 35% at Buick and 48% at Cadillac.
Nissan Motor Co. reported a 20% drop in deliveries in the fourth quarter, with its Nissan division down 17% and its Infiniti sales off 47%.
Stellantis saw an 18% decline in fourth quarter volume, dipping to 411,513. Sales dropped 19% at Jeep, 16% at Ram, 36% at Dodge, 64% at Fiat, and 33% at Alfa Romeo. The Chrysler brand is the only one with increased sales last quarter, up 18% behind a 32% gain in Pacifica deliveries.
The automaker’s sales slipped 2% on flat retail business. Stellantis reported it prioritized retail customer orders because of the chip shortage and supply chain crunch, which resulted in an 8% drop in fleet shipments in the fourth quarter and 13% year over year.
Though Toyota saw double-digit declines in volume in recent months, the automaker surpassed GM in U.S. sales by nearly 130,000 units in 2021, pushing GM out of the top spot for the first time since 1931.
Still, Toyota saw volume slip 30% in December, its largest decline in 2021. Sales dropped 29% at the Toyota division and 37% at Lexus. The Toyota division’s car sales plummeted 37% while SUV and crossover volume dropped 21% and pickup truck deliveries tumbled 26%.
Toyota reported at 20-day supply of vehicles, which represents 125,423 vehicles, with 106,296 units sitting at ports or in transit.