Light Vehicle Sales Drop in Second Quarter of 2022

light vehicle sales drop in second quarter of 2022

Americans continue to buy vehicles nearly as fast as they arrive on dealer lots, as the nation is rife with stories chronicling perpetually empty lots and some establishments making bank with obscene markups.

We’ll leave those latter two topics for another day. Meanwhile, despite a consumer hunger for new cars, the market is down sharply compared to this time last year – double-digit percentages, in fact.

Not a single solitary member of the B&B will be surprised to learn that supply chain headaches continue to plague the industry, restricting the number of vehicles available for delivery to customers. Last quarter – remember, most manufacturers only deem us worthy of sale reporting four times a year instead of on a monthly basis – saw a cratering of sales to 3.37 million units, down a staggering 21 percent compared to Q2 in 2021. Sure, the world has been topsy-turvy in terms of car sales for more than two years now, what with a global pandemic and chip shortages skewing data in ways we never would have imagined before we all learned the word ‘Covid’. Note some brands have yet to report their numbers.

Year-to-date, approximately 6.57 million new vehicles have been snapped up at American dealerships, down 18.5 percent from just over 8 million this time last year. If this pace is duplicated between now and when Santa Claus shows up, the market is on track for its worst showing since the bad old days when all hands were clawing their way out of the Great Recession. Still, unless something unthinkable happens on a global scale, we’re well ahead of 2009 when light vehicle retail sales bottomed out at a hair over 10 million.

It’s always fun to look at individual brands, so let’s do that. General Motors now sits atop the charts once again, after being embarrassingly usurped by Toyota for the U.S. sales crown last time around. This was thanks in no small part to a 22.9 percent overall decline across Toyota brands in this country compared to a 15.4 percent slide at GM. Dragging down RenCen most heavily was Buick, off by more than half compared to the same quarter in 2021 and so far this year. It’s not just a simple bad Q2 at the tri-shield brand, then; the entire annum has been difficult.

Across town, Ford stayed largely flat this past quarter and has weathered the year better than most, down just over 8 percent year-to-date. A strong June will result in breathless headlines saying the Glass House is up 31.5 percent which is true – for that single month. In June, Ford says they sold 1,837 F-150 Lightning pickup trucks for a total of 2,296 since the EV went on sale. In that same segment, Rivian is estimated to have sold 1,400 trucks so far this year. Tesla has yet to sell a single Cybertruck, despite all their braggadocio at its introduction all those years ago.

And, for those who enjoy small(er) pickup trucks, know that the Maverick is outselling the Ranger so far this year: 38,753 to 33,840. Think there’s any cannibalization there? Drop a note in the comments with your thoughts on that particular statistic.

[Image: Honda]

Join the conversation
2 of 34 comments
  • 65corvair 65corvair on Jul 08, 2022

    I think these numbers are a better measure of companies ability to source chips and perhaps other parts. Until things get back to normal, you can't say who if doing well or poorly.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Jul 08, 2022

    For the record, here are the brands which are up year-to-date (ranked by how far up on a unit basis): - Tesla - Chrysler - Genesis - Polestar - Rivian - Lucid - Maserati - Rolls-Royce

  • MRF 95 T-Bird The Buick 215/3.5-liter aluminum V8 was one of GMs great engines. Unfortunately GM being GM in one of their greatest mistakes was selling off the tooling to BL. If they kept it around and improved upon it it would have been a fine motor for their compacts and midsize models through the OPEC oil crisis.
  • Chris P Bacon Not sure why a '21 is getting reviewed, because there have been improvements to the 4xe. I've got a '22 4xe Sahara. May 2022 build in High-Velocity yellow with a soft top. As soon as it was announced I knew I wanted to try it, not for the fuel mileage, but for the technology. I don't have a Level 2 charger, it charges fully overnight on the included Level 1. I see an indicated range of 27 miles regularly. Today it indicated 29 when I unplugged. I've only filled the gas tank three times in 2500 miles, a full charge costs me about $3 based on my current electricity supplier. I don't experience the rough transitions between electric and gas, so maybe Jeep figured it out? It's stupid fast when using all the power off the line. So much so that it will break the rear wheels loose when you stomp on it. I agree that plugin hybrids are the future. I see no need for a pure electric. This is the way to go.
  • RHD The word B R O N C O written in contrasting paint on the dashboard is quite unnecessary. The passenger certainly knows what kind of vehicle he or she is in. That detail is a big fail. The red and white Bronco looks great, especially with tires that have honest-to-goodness sidewalls on them.
  • Luke42 Aren't those trim levels just different colors of paint?That's what they sound like, at least. 🤷‍♂️
  • Varezhka BEVs are not getting any more affordable because most of the cost is material, unlike mostly steel (cheap) gas powered cars.It’s like asking why gold and platinum aren’t getting any cheaper. And it’s only going to get worse with the sudden global interest in BEVs.