Tuesday, January 25

Vehicle sales: Toyota dethrones General Motors for the first time in the United States

The Japanese manufacturer Toyota dethroned General Motors in the United States in 2021, selling there for the first time more cars and pickups than its American counterpart, more affected by the shortage of semiconductors.

It is the first time that General Motors has lost the number one position in the country since 1931, when the manufacturer now led by Mary Barra had overtaken Ford, according to the specialized site Automotive News.

The shortage of microchips, which has forced automotive groups around the world to sporadically suspend some production lines in recent months, has sharply slumped fourth-quarter sales by 28% for Toyota and 43% for GM, detail the groups in separate releases Tuesday.

But for the year as a whole, Toyota saw its sales increase by 10% to 2.3 million units, while General Motors saw its sales decline 13% to 2.2 million units.

Sales of Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat and Alfa Romeo, for their part fell 18% in the fourth quarter, and 2% for the year as a whole to 1.8 million units.

The other major American car group Ford will unveil its figures on Wednesday.

“There is no doubt that this is a remarkable achievement for Toyota,” said Jessica Caldwell of specialist firm Edmunds in a note. “But that’s probably not a sign of long-term change,” she added.

“GM has the advantage of having more brands and products to choose from, including pickups and SUVs, the popularity of which has only grown over the years,” said the specialist.

In addition, the margins of these categories of vehicles are generally higher, and they must have further inflated with the increase in selling prices: according to Edmunds, the group sold its vehicles at an average price of 48,396 dollars between January and November. 2021, i.e. 11% more than in 2020, and 25% more than in 2016.

– Bet on electricity –

For Charlie Chesbrough of Cox Automotive, GM may also have been disadvantaged by its choice to focus on larger cars, leaving market share to Toyota’s Corolla and Camry in the city car sector.

Demand from American motorists did not weaken during the year. But manufacturers simply did not have enough chips, elements that have become indispensable in vehicles now loaded with electronics, to meet them.

The Japanese manufacturer, which again became world number one in the automobile sector in 2020 ahead of Volkswagen, managed to better manage the shortage of semiconductors than other manufacturers during the first part of the year, thanks in particular to its in-depth knowledge. of its supply chains.

Total vehicle sales in the United States are expected to reach 14.9 million in 2021, up about 2.5% from the previous year, Cox Automotive predicts.

For the future, manufacturers are betting in the short term on a greater availability of semiconductors as well as on the strength of the economy.

“Inventory levels (of cars for sale) are starting to recover amid strong demand, with many job openings, high household savings and low interest rates,” the economist noted. GM chief Elaine Buckberg.

“Based on recent high levels of vehicle use, consumers want to drive as much as they did before the pandemic,” she added.

In the medium term, both Toyota and GM are putting forward their strategy in the electric sector on Tuesday, a segment in which the race is intensifying even if it still only represents 3% of sales in the United States.

After the GMC Hummer and the Cadillac Lyriq, GM will present the electric version of its popular Chevrolet Silverado pickup on Wednesday.

Ford for its part announced Tuesday that in view of the strong demand, it would almost double the production capacities of the electric version of its F-150 pickup, the best-selling vehicle in the United States.

Tesla remains number one for the moment in the segment in the United States. The group announced on Sunday that it had delivered a total of 936,000 vehicles worldwide during the year 2021, or 87% more than in 2020.


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