Toyota beats General Motors in US first quarter auto sales 

Toyota has once again bested General Motors in the US sales charts, after taking the sales crown from the latter last year. The feat was achieved despite automakers struggling with supply-chain issues in the first quarter as all major producers that reported sales posted steep declines in the period.

FILE PHOTO: The Toyota logo is seen at a booth during a media day for the Auto Shanghai show in Shanghai, China. (REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: The Toyota logo is seen at a booth during a media day for the Auto Shanghai show in Shanghai, China.

Toyota, which overtook GM in the last quarter of 2021 as the No. 1 seller in the US, managed to retain its crown in early 2022. The company was buoyed by more inventory, fewer trim options and a heavy reliance on hybrid models. Consumers are increasing getting inclined towards hybrids and electric vehicles amid soaring gas prices.

While Toyota saw sales in the first three months declining 15% to 514,592 vehicles, its hybrid gas-electric models dipped only 3.9% as the automaker prioritized those vehicles for scarce chips. Sales of hybrid versions of the brand’s top selling vehicle - the RAV4 compact SUV - rose by double digits in the quarter.

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On the other hand, General Motors posted a 20% dip in sales to 512,846 cars and trucks, losing out to rival Toyota for a second consecutive quarter, even though by just less than 2,000 vehicles. Sales of its priciest pickups and SUVs were up, as it directed supplies of semiconductors to those high-profit vehicles.

However, shortage of semiconductor chips and the coronavirus pandemic still weigh on the industry, which now confronts additional challenges related to the Russia-Ukraine war, volatile fuel prices and increasing cost of battery materials and other components.

In March, automakers in the US likely sold a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 13.2 million new vehicles, down 26% from a year earlier, as per the average forecast of eight market researchers. Many manufacturers have had to slow output due to supply-chain issues, implying that consumers have had to wait longer for their preferred vehicle model.

(with inputs from Bloomberg)

First Published Date: 03 Apr 2022, 17:45 PM IST
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