Detroit-based General Motors has been the top-selling automaker in the US in every single year since 1931. But even Cadillacs lose their shine after a while.
Japan’s Toyota dethroned GM as the No. 1 automaker in the country in 2021, marking the first time on record that a foreign car manufacturer has topped the list.
Run the numbers:
- Japan sold 2.3 million vehicles in 2021, up 10% from the year before.
- GM sold 2.2 million, down 13% from 2021.
What happened: All automakers have had to navigate that nasty chip shortage during the pandemic, but Toyota managed to do it better than GM thanks to a bigger stockpile of chips it had set aside.
- And even if GM recaptures the title next year, 2021’s results still show that the US auto winds have forever shifted. “The dominance of the US automakers of the US market is just over,” University of Michigan biz professor Erik Gordon told the NYT.
No car manufacturer suffered from a lack of demand in 2021—limited production capacity is primarily to blame for the bottleneck. Average new vehicle prices surged 20% last month to a record $45,700 according to J.D. Power, which reflects ravenous consumer appetite for cars paired with a supply crunch.
Speaking of strong demand…
Ford’s electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck is selling like hotcakes. The company, which itself was leapfrogged by GM in 1931 as the US’ top automaker, is doubling production capacity for the vehicle thanks to “huge demand,” according to CEO Jim Farley. It’s the second time the company has raised its production target for the pickup truck.
Big picture: Sales of the electric F-150 are considered the bellwether for interest in electric vehicles in the US, considering the F-Series has been the top-selling vehicle in the country for decades.
Ford stock popped another 11.7% yesterday, continuing its fantastic run of form. The company’s 137.5% gain in 2021 was among the best in the S&P 500, and its share price is now at its highest level in 20 years.—NF