Toyota Motor Corp. outsold General Motors Co. in the United States in 2021, the first time an automaker based outside the U.S. has captured a position GM has held since 1931.
The Japanese automaker sold 2.33 million vehicles for the full year, up 10% from 2020, GM’s U.S. sales totaled 2.22 million, a 13% decline from the previous year.
But a key factor was that the global shortage of semiconductors, vital to the growing electronic content of all vehicles, hurt GM more than Toyota.
Jack Hollis, Toyota senior vice president, thanked the company’s loyal customers, but said that being the best-selling manufacturer in the U.S. is not a priority or a goal he expects to accomplish every year.
GM has dealt with the semiconductor shortage by prioritizing production and sales of its most profitable models, including the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC
Silverado and Sierra sales totaled 778,689 in 2021, down 8% from their combined 2020 sales. But sales of the four big SUVs jumped 30.4% to 278,991, despite supply chain disruptions.
While expectations for industry sales are stronger going into the new year, uncertainty remains.
More auto industry analyst had predicted U.S. total light vehicle sales for 2021 of about 15 million, significantly down from the average 17.3 million annual sales between 2015 and 2019.
Sales forecasts for 2022 range from about 15.5 million to 16.5 million. Much depends of how quickly the semiconductor shortage is resolved.
As GM, Ford and other automakers shrink their passenger car offerings, some of those sales are migrating to Japanese and Korean automakers who still see an opportunity if mid-size and large sedans.
And on the frontier of electric vehicles, GM only sold 26 in the fourth quarter – 25 Chevrolet Bolts and one GMC Hummer EV pickup truck.
For the full year, however, Bolt sales increased nearly 20% to 24,828.
The company is not backing away from its target of making 30 new electric models globally by 2025 and having EVs account for the vast majority of its sales by 2035.
Chairman and CEO Mary Barra is expected to unveil an electric version of the Chevrolet Silverado on Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Ford said Tuesday it planned to nearly double production capacity to about 150,000 units annually of its electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck. Toyota, in a statement, reiterated that it is investing $3 billion in the U.S. on electric vehicle assembly and battery technology.
Toyota includes gasoline-electric hybrid models in what it called its “electrified powered vehicles” sales. Those sales increased 73% in 2021 to 583,697, but most of those are vehicles that don’t need to be charged. Toyo