Major Automakers Report 2022 Sales, GM Grabs Crown

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
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major automakers report 2022 sales gm grabs crown

After taking a drubbing in 2021, the last annum was also a headache for most of the world’s automakers. Nevertheless, General Motors has narrowly retaken the title of America’s best-selling car company after losing it last year for the first time since the Great Depression.

GM has reported a total of 2,274,088 vehicle sales for the 2022 calendar year, a number which is up 2.5 percent from the topsy-turvy time frame twelve months prior. Much of these gains came from a renewed ability to build their best sellers (read: Trucks and big SUVs), with a full 1.1 million of those sales counted as full-size pickups and SUVs plus a smattering of midsize pickups. The 2.274m number is a 2.5 percent walk up the ladder from last year. Amongst its brands, only Buick was down for both the final quarter and total year, 6.5 and a shocking 42.4 percent respectively.

Second place belonged to Toyota, whose brands moved 2,108,458 pieces of metal between its Toyota and Lexus brands. Total electrified vehicle sales – battery, hybrids, plug-ins, and fuel cells – made up nearly one-quarter of total sales volume, no small shakes in a world plunging headlong into electrification whether we want to or not. That of 2.1m is down 9.6 percent compared to 2021, by the way.

Still, the Toyota brand itself is the most widely purchased in America in terms of passenger vehicles, ringing up 2,027,786 sales. The General’s biggest seller was Chevy at 1,518,048 units. Ford and some Euro brands like to keep us all waiting and won’t be releasing their numbers until later in the week. Other brands saw much more mixed results, with healthy volumes at Hyundai and Kia but players like Mazda suffered an 11 percent drop year-over-year despite racking up three straight monthly gains to end the calendar.

Depending on what’s in the hopper for big-volume players like the Blue Oval, it is not impossible for the American auto industry to post its worst year in terms of deliveries for nearly a decade. We’ll know once all the numbers are in but analysts are suggesting total light-vehicle numbers to check in under 14 million units, a sum not seen since 2011 when 12.78m vehicles found homes. 

Pandemic-riddled 2020 totted up 14.56 million while 2021 saw 15.05m sales. The best year in recent memory was 2016 at 17.56 million. In fact, every year from 2014 to 2019 inclusive all hovered in the 17 million range.

And if you’re wondering where our easy-to-digest Excel spreadsheet of numbers has gone, please yell at our corporate overlords. This new content management system doesn’t seem to play well with images comprised of numbers – to say nothing of the way it chewed up the .xls file itself. Stay tuned; this author is experimenting with some fixes.

As for what’s in the pipe for auto sales in 2023, talking heads are projecting rising interest rates and inflationary pressures to take their toll on new vehicle purchases. This could spur the return of incentives – or could simply shift the nature of sales to some degree. Car makers might figure out how to get away with smaller volume but more profit (read: Primarily selling the profit-laden models and trims), pushing some customers out of the market if they can’t make the monthly numbers work in their favor.

Put it this way: the forecast for 2023 includes scattered price changes and plenty of headwinds.

[Image: GM]

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Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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9 of 19 comments
  • Analoggrotto Analoggrotto on Jan 04, 2023

    This will only further fuel (sic) GM's hubris.

    • See 4 previous
    • Analoggrotto Analoggrotto on Jan 05, 2023

      But can GM seriously compete with Telluride or Pallisade? In this life or the next? They can only sell mountains of fullsized SUVs to rich racist suburbanites.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Jan 05, 2023

    Do I see rounded wheel openings in that picture??

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  • George Hughes What ever happened to the American can-do attitude. I know what, it was coopted by the fossil fuel industry in their effort to protect their racket.
  • 28-Cars-Later "But Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Franciscan Democrat who wrote the electric school bus legislation, says this is all about the health and wellbeing of Golden State residents. In addition to the normal air pollution stemming from exhaust gasses, he believes children are being exposed to additional carcinogens by just being on a diesel bus."Phil is into real estate, he doesn't know jack sh!t about science or medicine and if media were real it would politely remind him his opinions are not qualified... if it were real. Another question if media were real is why is a very experienced real estate advisor and former tax assessor writing legislation on school busses? If you read the rest of his bio after 2014, his expertise seems to be applied but he gets into more and more things he's not qualified to speak to or legislate on - this isn't to say he isn't capable of doing more but just two years ago Communism™ kept reminding me Dr. Fauxi knew more about medicine than I did and I should die or something. So Uncle Phil just gets a pass with his unqualified opinions?Ting began his career as a real estate  financial adviser at  Arthur Andersen and  CBRE. He also previously served as the executive director of the  Asian Law Caucus, as the president of the Bay Area Assessors Association, and on the board of  Equality California. [url=][1][/url][h3][/h3]In 2005, Ting was appointed San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2005 by Mayor  Gavin Newsom, becoming San Francisco’s highest-ranking  Chinese-American official at the time. He was then elected to the post in November 2005, garnering 58 percent of the vote.Ting was re-elected Assessor-Recorder in 2006 and 2010During his first term in the Assembly, Ting authored a law that helped set into motion the transformation of Piers 30-32 into what would become  Chase Center the home of the  Golden State Warriors
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