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After 90 Years On Top Of The Sales Charts, Toyota Topples The General

General Motors GM Logo Sales Production Stock Chip Shortage
Image via GM

The tabulations have been completed, and the results are in. For the first time ever Toyota is officially the largest automaker by sales volume in the United States. Actually, it’s the first time in 90 years General Motors isn’t occupying the top spot.

It was a confluence of two factors that contributed to GM’s demotion. Toyota moved 2,332,262 vehicles in the U.S during 2021, which represents a 10.4% increase compared to 2020. GM on the other hand lost 12.9% of its volume year-over-year and only managed to clock 2,218,228 vehicle sales in 2021. The difference of 114,034 deliveries between them is about the same size as the population of Lansing, Michigan.

2021 2022 2023 2024 Cadillac Escalade Sport Platinum Super Cruise Design luxury SUV
Image copyright Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks

According to the figures, the Toyota RAV4 was the Japanese automaker’s strongest selling product in 2021, with 430,387 units finding new homes in the U.S. The RAV4 actually underperformed by 5.3% relative to 2020. Carrying the torch for GM was the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, which saw 380,715 units moved to American driveways during the course of 2021. The half-ton Chevy lost 12.7% of its volume compared to a year ago, likely due to the massive part shortages that forced GM to idle production and pull vehicle content in response.

General Motors 2021 Sales: Microchip Supply Chain Issues Hinder Production

If you add up all the additional HD Silverado models the total volume figure for the model line jumps to 529,765 trucks, which still represents a 10.8% reduction year-over-year. Of course, it wasn’t just GM who struggled with supply chain issues. Toyota was forced to idle production plants globally in September, which saw its total production figure reduced by 360,000 vehicles.

As a result, Toyota took a beating during Q4 2021 with sales performance plunging some 47% compared to the rest of the year. In fact, even Ford outsold Toyota during the final few months of 2021. Unfortunately, we know the chip shortage won’t be ending anytime soon, it’s going to be an issue all the major automakers will be forced to grapple with for the duration of 2022 and into 2023 as well.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 1500
Image via Chevrolet

Written by Michael Accardi

Michael refuses to sit still, he's held multiple hands-on automotive jobs throughout his career. Along with being an investigative writer and accomplished photographer, Michael works for several motorsports organizations.

He was part of the Ford GT program at Multimatic, oversaw a fleet of Audi TCR race cars, has ziptied Lamborghini Super Trofeo cars back together, been over the wall in the Rolex 24, and worked in the cut-throat world of IndyCar.

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