6th December 2022

The Japanese auto maker, which for many years has labored to broaden its presence within the U.S., outsold GM by roughly 114,000 automobiles in 2021. Toyota’s whole U.S. gross sales of two.three million rose about 10% in contrast with 2020, the corporate mentioned Tuesday.

In contrast, GM reported an almost 13% slide in outcomes for a complete of two.2 million automobiles offered in 2021, because the semiconductor scarcity took a much bigger toll on the corporate’s manufacturing operations and left sellers with fewer automobiles to promote. GM had been the No. 1 auto vendor within the U.S. since 1931, in accordance with commerce publication Automotive Information.

Toyota has largely benefited from its determination to stockpile laptop chips, that are utilized in a wide selection of auto electronics. It guess sooner than most different auto makers on a recovering U.S. automobile market and reduce components and manufacturing orders much less sharply than rivals, making it higher ready for an eventual surge in shopper demand.

Whereas Toyota executives say they had been profitable in navigating a few of final yr’s supply-chain constraints, they don’t view the lead over GM as a everlasting shift within the trade’s intently watched gross sales rankings.

“To be clear, this isn’t our objective, nor can we see it as sustainable,” mentioned Jack Hollis, Toyota’s senior vp of operations in North America. He added that the corporate doesn’t anticipate to make use of its dethroning of GM final yr in its promoting.

A GM spokesman declined to touch upon the corporate’s gross sales rating. He mentioned GM has given precedence to its bestselling merchandise—giant pickup vans and sport-utility automobiles—and expects gross sales development this yr because the chip scarcity abates.

Different overseas auto makers and electric-car maker Tesla Inc. TSLA -4.18% additionally surged forward in U.S. gross sales in 2021, siphoning market share from Detroit, in accordance with firm stories and analyst forecasts.

Hyundai Motor Co. of South Korea, for the second yr in a row, notched sizable share positive aspects, promoting 738,081 automobiles in 2021 and boosting gross sales by about 19% over the prior yr, the corporate mentioned Tuesday. Mazda Motor Corp. , Volkswagen AG and BMW AG additionally posted stronger-than-average gross sales, analysis agency Cox Automotive estimates.

Want extra horsepower? Need automated driving? Auto makers akin to Dodge, Polestar and Jeep are exploring over-the-air updates like these as a solution to generate new income streams and retain model loyalty. WSJ’s George Downs explores whether or not automobile producers excel at software program growth. Photograph illustration: George Downs

Total, auto makers offered simply shy of 15 million automobiles within the U.S. final yr, in accordance with a forecast from analysis agency J.D. Energy. That whole can be up barely from 2020, when the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic damage automobile gross sales for a part of that yr. However it’s a sharp drop from the mark of 17 million automobiles that the trade had eclipsed for 5 straight years earlier than that.

Auto shares rallied Tuesday after the newest gross sales outcomes and information that Ford Motor Co. plans to double manufacturing of its new all-electric truck, after an increase in reservations.

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Shares in Ford had been up practically 11% on Tuesday afternoon. GM’s inventory was up 6%, whereas Toyota’s American depositary receipts had been buying and selling at a report excessive of $195.42.

U.S. car gross sales set a blistering tempo final spring as American automobile customers surfaced, trying to spend their financial savings from the pandemic lockdown on new wheels. However by summer season, the chip scarcity that had been hobbling manufacturing facility schedules world-wide resulted in practically naked dealership heaps, curbing gross sales within the second half of 2021.

Forecasters anticipate one other muted yr of auto gross sales, though the chip scarcity is anticipated to regularly ease in coming months. Auto executives have mentioned it might take all the yr to considerably replenish dealership inventories, which possible would curtail gross sales regardless of what sellers say is robust underlying demand.

Edmunds.com expects U.S. gross sales to achieve 15.2 million automobiles in 2022, up barely from the anticipated closing numbers from final yr. Analysts at RBC Capital are extra bullish, pegging the full at roughly 15.eight million automobiles, with an anticipated surge later within the yr as provide improves.

GM was among the many hardest hit by the chip scarcity and different supply-chain issues.

Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Photographs

Toyota executives mentioned they anticipated U.S. auto gross sales to develop to about 16.5 million automobiles this yr, lifted by traditionally low rates of interest, report stock-market efficiency and better financial savings charges that may assist help customers.

Lofty costs are anticipated to persist, as the vendor’s market created by the stock crunch continues, analysts mentioned. The typical value paid for a brand new car hit a report $45,700 in December, 20% greater than a yr earlier, J.D. Energy estimates.

Document used-vehicle pricing is contributing to robust new-car costs, J.D. Energy mentioned, as a result of patrons buying and selling of their outdated automobiles have extra money to work with. The typical trade-in car in December was value about $10,200, up from about $4,600 a yr earlier, the agency mentioned.

“Pent-up shopper demand will preserve stock ranges close to historic lows,” possible resulting in extra report pricing this yr, mentioned Thomas King, president of information and analytics at J.D. Energy.

The uneven disruption to manufacturing schedules jumbled the pecking order amongst auto makers in 2021. Whereas the chip scarcity and different supply-chain issues have affected all auto makers, GM and Ford had been among the many hardest hit, every having scrapped greater than 600,000 deliberate automobiles in North America, in accordance with analysis agency AutoForecast Options LLC.

Ford plans to report 2021 gross sales outcomes on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Dearborn, Mich., auto maker mentioned it deliberate to double its objective for manufacturing its new electrical model of the F-150 pickup truck, focusing on 150,000 a yr. Ford mentioned the elevated manufacturing plans replicate excessive demand for the mannequin, with about 200,000 reservations positioned to purchase one of many vans.

Different gross sales winners included Asian and European manufacturers, in addition to Tesla, which mentioned Sunday that international deliveries jumped 87% in 2021, to 936,000 automobiles. Tesla doesn’t escape gross sales figures regionally. Cox estimated that its U.S. market share rose to 2.2% final yr—about even with Mercedes-Benz —from 1.4%.

Randy Parker, head of nationwide gross sales for Hyundai Motor America, mentioned the auto maker took a number of steps to counter the market challenges, together with leaning extra on on-line gross sales operations and inspiring sellers to line up gross sales for automobiles which have but to hit the lot.

He mentioned he expects Hyundai to maintain sharpening its efforts into 2022, aiming to construct on its latest share positive aspects.

“I don’t imagine in coincidences,” Mr. Parker mentioned. “I believe that we tailored to the disaster extraordinarily nicely.”

How the World Chip Scarcity Impacts You

Write to Mike Colias at Mike.Colias@wsj.com and Christina Rogers at christina.rogers@wsj.com

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