DETROIT – General Motors reclaimed its U.S. sales crown from Toyota Motor last year as the Detroit automaker eked out a slight gain in annual U.S. vehicle sales despite supply chain problems.
GM said Wednesday it sold 2.27 million vehicles in the U.S. in 2022, up by 2.5% over 2021, including a 41.4% increase during the fourth quarter. Analysts expect overall U.S. auto industry sales to have declined by 7% and 10% last year compared to 2021.
Toyota said it sold 2.1 million vehicles in the U.S. last year, down 9.6% from 2021. The company was able to manage supply chain problems, specifically with semiconductor chips, better than others.
Toyota edged out GM in sales by 114,034 vehicles in 2021 – dethroning the Detroit automaker for the first time since 1931 when it surpassed Ford Motor. Toyota executives previously said the top sales spot was unattainable, but CEO Akio Toyoda last year told dealers he did a “happy dance” when he heard the news.
Jack Hollis, executive vice president of Toyota Motor North America, on Wednesday said the Japanese automaker remains focused on retail sales, which are traditionally more profitable than commercial or fleet sales. Toyota has led those sales for several years.
Despite recent criticism of its all-electric vehicle strategy, Toyota on Wednesday touted that it leads the country in electrified vehicle sales. Those include hybrid, plug-in and all-electric cars and trucks.
GM, in contrast, largely ditched hybrids for an all-electric vehicle strategy but has been slow to ramp up production. GM’s U.S. EV sales represented less than 2% of its sales in 2022.
In a release Wednesday, GM called EVs “growth opportunities.” It’s expected to release more mainstream models such as the Chevrolet Blazer and Chevrolet Equinox EV crossovers.
GM was able to achieve record U.S. sales of 38,120 Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV models in 2022. However, it sold fewer than 1,000 units of its luxury GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq, combined.
GM said production of the Bolt models is expected to increase to more than 70,000 units this year to meet strong global demand. The company last year pushed back plans to produce 400,000 EVs in North America through 2023 to mid-2024.
While GM’s future may be EVs, its present is large, gas-guzzling pickup trucks and SUVs. The Detroit automaker sold more than 1.1 million mid-size pickups and full-size trucks, including SUVs, in 2022. Those sales represented nearly 50% of their total annual sales.
Such vehicles are highly profitable and crucial to GM’s bottom line as it invests in capital-intensive electric and autonomous vehicles.
GM has been the top seller of pickups for nine years, including topping crosstown rival Ford in full-size pickups for three consecutive years. However, Ford’s F-Series has been America’s bestselling truck for 46 consecutive years and bestselling vehicle for 41 years.
The accolades come despite declining sales of full-size pickups for both automakers due to supply chain issues. GM sold 754,876 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups in 2022, down by roughly 2%. Sales of Ford’s F-Series were off by nearly 13% through November compared with a year earlier, however Ford said Tuesday that last month’s sales were anticipated to be the best of 2022 for the F-Series.