Toyota outperforms GM in US for second consecutive quarter
In the third quarter, Toyota TM -0.07%
said it sold 566,005 vehicles in the United States, beating GM’s total sales for the period by about 119,000 units. The Japanese automaker is now in a position to overtake GM for the year, having surpassed its rival’s US sales total in the first nine months.
GM has long dominated the U.S. sales market, but a prolonged semiconductor shortage continued to have a disproportionate effect on the Detroit-based auto giant, causing widespread disruption at its factories. GM sales fell nearly 33% in the third quarter. In contrast, Toyota was up 1.4% from the previous year.
Other automakers are also feeling the impact of the parts shortage, and the U.S. auto industry, as a whole, is expected to report its first quarterly sales decline for the year when final sales are counted.
In September alone, the industry’s annualized sales pace – a measure of month-over-month market strength – reached 12.2 million, according to research firm Wards Intelligence, the most low since the early days of the pandemic.
For the third quarter, research firm JD Power expects auto sales in the United States to total 3.3 million, down 13% from the previous year.
Ford engine Co.
expects to report third quarter sales on Monday.
The computer chip shortage, which has stifled auto production around the world, is now starting to have a bigger impact on sales in the United States as the spare parts crisis continues to reduce factory output and leave batches of sale with little or no stock.
It is also starting to wear off among car buyers, some of whom are so confused by the challenges of buying a car right now that they give up until the situation improves.
Many players in the automotive industry expect the challenges to persist over the next year or so as new supply chain bottlenecks emerge in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world. the semiconductor industry, according to auto dealers, analysts and executives.
For now, Jack Hollis, head of marketing and sales for Toyota’s North American division, has said he does not see Toyota’s lead as permanent, saying it is more the result of momentum. unusual market at the moment than a longer term change. “This is an anomaly, not what it would be if everyone had normal circumstances,” Hollis said.
With stocks tight, consumers have to pay a high price to get the vehicles they want, causing some buyers to delay their purchases. Frustration occurs among buyers of new and used cars as vehicle supplies are scarce across the board.
“The car prices started to go crazy, and I decided I could wait,” said Sean Hutchinson, a Chicago writer and teacher who started looking for a vehicle last year to replace his Mercury Grand Marquis. nearly 20 years. While he was making more money now and wanted to upgrade, the current auto market is too expensive, he said.
“I just stopped watching completely,” Hutchinson added.
Auto industry sales have shown signs of slowing as the summer months approach, as dealers report struggling to keep cars and trucks in stock. Since then, the semiconductor shortage has continued to wreak havoc, disrupting auto production throughout the summer in the United States and around the world.
A Kelley Blue Book survey of car buyers in the United States in late August found that 48% of those surveyed were likely to postpone purchasing a vehicle due to the chip shortage. Among buyers likely to postpone, 40% say they are prepared to wait seven months or more.
When that same survey was conducted this spring, 37% of those polled said they plan to delay a purchase, Kelley Blue Book said.
The lack of semiconductors, used in vehicle components as diverse as touch screens and airbags, shows little sign of slowing down. Jessica Caldwell, analyst for car buying website Edmunds.com, said the protracted challenges left the auto industry at a stalemate and buyers with few options.
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“For a while I think people have been trying to find ways to make it work, and now it’s getting hard to do it,” Ms. Caldwell said of car buyers.
Earlier in the year, the lack of stock helped make dealers and automakers more profitable, as they could sell more expensive models, or even charge above the sticker price in some cases. But inventory levels plunged to an all-time high at the end of August, and in September lost sales began to have an impact, according to dealers.
Mike Sullivan, director of LAcarGUY, a Santa Monica, Calif.-Based chain with a dozen dealerships, said his stores were able to offset lower sales in July and August with higher profit per vehicle. Then in September, the margins started to take a hit, he said.
Mr Sullivan said he worries about losing long-time customers, who may not return home if he doesn’t have a car to offer them.
“It was really difficult,” he said. “We will have to work very, very hard to get these people back. “
John Morrill, owner of Planet Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Massachusetts, said it was difficult to assess the current real demand for some models. For example, there hasn’t been more than one Jeep Wrangler on his lot in the past 45 days, which has likely led some buyers to bypass his store due to low stock, he said.
“All we know is demand is more than production,” Mr. Morrill said.
Write to Nora Naughton at [email protected]
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