Automakers Report Q3 Sales, A Total Mixed Bag

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
automakers report q3 sales a total mixed bag

If recent global events have taught us anything about the auto industry, it’s that unpredictability is the new norm. Gone are the days when one could confidently muse about the fortunes of one brand over another, replaced by erratic parts shortages and inconsistent volume of supply.

Still, some are weathering the storm better than others.

Through to the third quarter of this year, just about every brand is off their performance numbers of the same time frame one annum ago, save for low-volume brands whose numbers are easy to skew plus an odd aberration at Chrysler. It is worth remembering that 2021 was no picnic for some companies, making these year-to-date losses a doubly difficult pill to glutch down the gullet.

Witness the yo-yo that is General Motors, for example. Off by roughly 7 percent so far this year, its volume skyrocketed last quarter by nearly 25 percent, a number heretofore unheard of for a company of its size. Recorded sales were up massively at all brands save Buick, which put a damper on the party by going into the red by almost thirty percent compared to this time last year. So far in 2022, the tri-shield brand is down almost half to just over 76,000 vehicles. For you, dealer wonks in the B&B, know that The General ended the third quarter with 359,292 vehicles in dealer inventory, including units in transit, an increase of 111,453 units from the previous quarter and nearly three times the inventory available at the end of the third quarter of 2021, back when COVID-related supply chain issues crucified production.

Sticking with the big guns, Toyota posted its first month-over-month increase since last summer, putting an exclamation point on the difficulties that the brand is having in straightening out its production lines. Your author’s local Toyota store is barren and bereft of new metal; he wagers the one in your town is in a similar state of affairs. Taken as an entire third quarter and year-to-date tabulation, however, the Big T is off by 7.1 percent and 15.4 percent respectively.

Talking heads at Honda are attempting to put a positive spin on things, yammering about ‘strong turn rates’ and maximizing available inventory. Still, one look at the numbers reveals that Honda shifted well over a million units by this time in 2021; this year – a skiff over 650,000. That’s a 37.9 percent drop. And if you’re wondering, Acura is off by 41.2 percent so far this year.

Where will this stick at year’s end? Analysts who were bullish back around President’s Day are now muttering about stagnating sales thanks to partial evaporation of any pent-up demand they assumed existed in the marketplace. Inflation, fuel prices, and rising interest rates are enough to put a dent in things; adding a wonky supply chain and parts issues seems to be exacerbating an already tough situation.

[Image: GM/Chevrolet]

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3 of 33 comments
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Oct 06, 2022

    VW (marque not group) and Tesla very nearly switched positions on a YTD basis.

  • InCogKneeToe InCogKneeToe on Oct 11, 2022

    How can one judge Performance over Last Year? this is year #2 of Chip Shortages and Shut Downs.

    The Real comparison would be to 2019 numbers, see who is Losing the most.

    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Oct 11, 2022

      Tesla sold roughly 49K vehicles per quarter in 2019. Q3 2022 is 114K. (Pretty schweet.) Subaru was running at 175K/quarter in 2019; now at 137K. (Ouchie with cladding and dust.)

  • IH_Fever EV charger on a GM lot, probably with a Cummins generator to keep them running. A regular melting pot haha
  • Tassos Wake me up when VW (or any other loser "Legacy" automaker comes up with a "BETTER TESLA" BEV AT THE SAME PRICE. SO far, VW has FAILED MISERABLY AND LOST BILLIONS DOING IT. Its models are way underwhelming and inferior, and cost not much less than the model 3. ANd DESPITE the SCANDALOUS $7,500 tax credit, which is an INVERSE ROBIN HOOD, takes from the average household and gives it to the average BEV buying family, which has an income of $170k+, VW STILL FAILED.ALso notice the so-called "Mobility Officers" at FORD AND Renault QUIT. another HUGE SCAM, Autonomous Vehicles, they wasted 100s of billions (all idiot legacy makers together) and predicted billions of profits, but so far they DROWN IN A SEA OF RED INK with NOTHING to show for it. Morons will be morons, and the ones in this forum will cheer for their failures "AWESOME, WV, Indeed"! LOL!!!
  • Jwee More range and faster charging cannot be good news for the heavily indebted and distracted Musk.Tesla China is discounting their cars. Apart from the Model 3, no one is much buying Tesla's here in Europe. Other groups have already passed Tesla in Europe, where it was once dominant.Among manufacturers, 2021 EV sales:VW Group 25%, Stellantis at 14.5%,Tesla at 13.9%Hyundai-Kia at 11.2% Renault Group at 10.3%. Just 2 years ago, Tesla had a commanding 31.1% share of the European EV marketOuch., changed their data, so this is slightly different than last time I posted this, but same idea.
  • Varezhka Given how long the Mitsubishi USA has been in red, that's a hard one. I mean, this company has been losing money in all regions *except* SE Asia and Oceania ever since they lost the commercial division to Daimler.I think the only reason we still have the brand is A) Mitsubishi conglomerate's pride won't allow it B) US still a source of large volume for the company, even if they lose money on each one and C) it cost too much money to pull out and no one wants to take responsibility. If I was the head of Mitsubishi's North American operation and retreat was not an option, I think my best bet would be to reduce overhead by replacing all the cars with rebadged Nissans built in Tennessee and Mexico.As much as I'd like to see the return of Triton, Pajero Sport (Montero Sport to you and me), and Delica I'm sure that's more nostalgia and grass is greener thing than anything else.
  • Varezhka If there's one (small) downside to the dealer not being allowed to sell above MSRP, it's that now we get a lot of people signing up for the car with zero intention of keeping the car they bought. We end up with a lot of "lightly used" examples on sale for a huge mark-up, including those self-purchased by the dealerships themselves. I'm sure this is what we'll end up seeing with GR Corolla in Japan as well.This is also why the Land Cruiser has a 4 year waitlist in Japan (36K USD starting MSRP -> buy and immediately flip for 10, 20K more -> profit) I'm not sure if there's a good solution for this apart from setting the MSRP higher to match what the market allows, though this lottery system is probably as close as we can get.