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.
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