Toyota Beats GM in U.S. Auto Sales for 2021.
It Is the first time GM has lost the top spot Since 1931
It’s been nearly one hundred years since a non-domestic automaker sold more cars than GM. A long record of overall dominance in the industry was shattered in 2021.
Toyota took the number one sales spot in the U.S. Their 2,332,262 in sales beat GM’s 2,218,228, the first time since 1931 that GM had not been on top in full-year sales.
While Toyota’s top-selling RAV4 was down 5 percent vs. 2020, the Camry, Corolla, Highlander, and Tacoma were all up over last year to push the numbers past the competition. For GM, Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups saw declines, and its competitor to the RAV4, the Chevy Equinox, was down 39 percent compared with 2020.
It was a year plagued with production stoppages — the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply-chain problems and most importantly, the shortage of semiconductor chips. Toyota was able to continue to build cars while some GM lines were silent thanks to its decision to stockpile semiconductors. It bet earlier than most other auto makers on a recovering U.S. car market and didn’t curtail production of parts and cars. Toyota was simply better prepared for an eventual surge in consumer demand.
Industry analysts we’ve spoken to expect another tough year for vehicle sales. Until we’ve got the chip shortage in our rear view mirror the industry will, to some degree, continue to struggle. But that’s just the beginning. Auto executives have said it could take the entire year to substantially replenish dealership inventories, which likely would curtail sales despite what dealers say is strong underlying demand.