For the first time since 1931, Detroit-based General Motors has lost the crown of top-selling automaker in the US, handing over the baton to Japanese giant Toyota Motor, as automakers stare at acute chip shortage and supply chain constraints.
General Motors and its dealers delivered 2.2 million vehicles in 2021, with Chevrolet and GMC cementing the company’s eighth consecutive year of combined full-size and midsize pickup sales leadership.
GM said that its total sales were down about 13 per cent (year over year) because of semiconductor supply chain issues.
Toyota, by comparison, said it sold 2.3 million vehicles in the US last year, up by 10.4 per cent compared to 2020, reports CNBC.
“The difference in sales between the two automakers was 114,034 vehicles,” the report said late on Tuesday.
It also marks the first time a non-domestic automaker has taken the top spot in the US.
“Toyota was able to manage supply chain issues better, allowing it to take away GM’s throne for the first time in 90 years,” the report said.
The key constraint for sales continues to be reduced inventory levels as a result of the semiconductor shortage, according to GM.
“Those inventory levels are beginning to recover against a backdrop of strong fundamental demand conditions, with ample job openings, high household savings and low-interest rates,” said Elaine Buckberg, GM chief economist.
According to Steve Carlisle, GM executive vice president and president, GM North America, in 2022, “we plan to take advantage of the strong economy and anticipated improved semiconductor supplies to grow our sales and share”.