TOYOTA TAKES THE CROWN AS U.S. MOTOR VEHICLE SALES KING

Japanese automaker Toyota outsold General Motors in the United States in 2021, marking the first time the Detroit automaker has not led U.S. auto sales for a full year since 1931.

For the first time in 90 years, General Motors is not the top-selling automaker in the U.S.

That honor instead goes to a rival some 6000 miles from Detroit: Japanese automaker Toyota.

Toyota sold more than 2.3 million vehicles in the U.S. in 2021 – an annual jump of more than 10 percent – while GM sold just over 2.2 million.

GM’s second place standing reflects a 13 percent drop for 2021 – including a 43 percent nosedive in the fourth quarter.

A shortage of semiconductors chips used in building new vehicles posed a challenge for the auto industry as a whole, forcing most brands to focus on selling their most profitable models.

For GM, that meant full-size SUVs and pick-ups. A company spokesperson said that as the economy improves and semiconductors become more available, GM sales will rebound – adding “I wouldn’t rush out if I were (Toyota), and get a ‘We’re No. 1’ tattoo.”

Toyota is not boasting about its accomplishment – at least not publicly. Senior Vice President Jack Hollis said in a statement that the automaker is “grateful” for its loyal customers, but that being No. 1 is (quote) “never a focus or priority.”

Roughly 15 million vehicles were sold in the U.S. in 2021 – well below the five-year average of 17.3 million from 2015-2019.

Sales are expected to tick up to 15.5 million in 2022.

And consumers should expect to see prices continue to rise.

Edmunds said average prices for new vehicles hit another new record in November at nearly $46,000 – compared to about $40,000 in November of 2020.

Edmunds also forecast used vehicle prices will surpass the $30,000 mark for the first time ever in 2022.