New Paradox: Sales Down in a Red-Hot Market

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
new paradox sales down in a red hot market

Delivery numbers for the first quarter of 2022 may be down compared to this same time last year, but don’t construe that as a lack of customer interest. Supply and demand are out of sync for many manufacturers right now, leading to a situation in which there seems to be no shortage of buyers but a dearth of inventory to satiate their requests.

Alert readers will recognize there are a number of holes in this chart, a situation one can blame on OEMs refusing to release sales numbers in a timely manner at the end of a quarter. This is in addition to scuttling the practice of monthly reporting, it should be noted. Companies like Ford, a trio of Germans, and Volvo will post their numbers sometime later this month. At that time, we will update this chart. Or not. Tesla did release their numbers for global production and deliveries, but it’ll be another three weeks until market specifics are given.

Still, there’s plenty to talk about. Toyota has once again bested General Motors for the top spot in America by these measures, outselling the Detroit behemoth by about 5,500 cars despite a near 15-percent drop in sales year-over-year. Given the tumbleweeds at your author’s local Toyota dealer, one can only speculate how many they would have sold if not for global supply chain issues. GM was off by about 20 percent with a notable blip at Buick.

It’s endless fun to poke through the weird minutiae of sales numbers, including revelations such as the fact that Stellantis apparently managed to move a pair of Chrysler 200 sedans in the first quarter of 2022 despite it being a model which ceased production in December 2016. Someone unearthed a Dodge Dart as well.

The addition of automakers to our chart is a trip since the creation of new marques in this market hasn’t happened en masse for decades. Rivian, Polestar, and Lucid all shipped vehicles in the first quarter of this calendar year, with sales estimates aggregated from the eggheads at Automotive News.

No one should construe these difficult numbers with a lack of American desire to buy new vehicles. Most dealerships are selling rigs the minute they land, with many hot models pre-sold long before they ever turn a wheel on the dealer’s lot. This has given rise to endless ‘market adjustments’ and the associated clapbacks from manufacturers to some dealers who may be seen as taking advantage of the situation.

This may be one of the few times in recent memory that the pace of production is roughly equal to the pace of sales. Even if supply chains get back to normal and build rates improve, pent-up demand will hoover any extra vehicles being pumped out of car factories.

[Image: Toyota / Charts: TTAC]

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Apr 05, 2022

    The reason for the push on the Maverick is that it takes a month or more to ship from the factory in Mexico. Ford is expecting the last dealer deliveries for Maverick MY 2022 to be in October. Sometime in September for the start of 2023 Maverick production. Ford is trying to catch up from plant shutdowns mostly due to part shortages.

  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Apr 05, 2022

    You guys do grasp that the S in MSRP stands for SUGGESTED, right? If you don't like it I suggest you buy somewhere else.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
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