July 5, 2021: -Toyota Motor outsold General Motors in the U.S. for the first time in a quarter and is expected to be the best-selling automaker of America.
On Thursday, the Japanese automaker reported sales of 688,813 vehicles in the U.S. from April through June. That compares to GM at 688,236 cars in the second quarter. Toyota beat analyst expectations, while GM slightly missed forecasts.
The shake-up was caused by a global chip shortage that has hampered vehicle production significantly. Japanese automakers such as Toyota have been able to manage the crisis better than their American competitors.
“They’ve defied gravity the last couple of months,” Cox Automotive senior economist Charlie Chesbrough said. “We’re tracking them having fragile inventories out there, and yet their sales have held up quite well. We’re kind of surprised by Toyota’s strength and having a decent quarter relative to some of the competition.”
The only way Toyota will not take the mantle as the top-selling automaker is if Ford Motor, which reports the sales on Friday morning, significantly beats analyst’s sales expectations of 645,000 vehicles during the quarter. Ford previously said it expected to lose half of its production during the second quarter due to the chip problem.
The last time the GM was not the best-selling automaker for a quarter in the U.S. was when Ford outsold them in the third quarter of 1998, Edmunds reports.
Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds, said Toyota is famous for seeing far into their supply chain and has more experience managing lower inventories. She expects significant swings in U.S. market share this year due to the parts shortage.
“I would expect a bit of a change in some of the market share,” she said. “Toyota has done well; the Asian brands overall have done pretty well.”
In May, Reuters reported that Toyota was stockpiling semiconductors chips, critical for modern vehicles, and was not seeing any significant short-term impact from the chip shortage.
Toyota released the following statement: “We are grateful to our loyal customers for putting their safety and trust in Toyota and Lexus vehicles.
Our focus has always been and will continue to be on being the best brand in terms of safety and quality in our customers’ minds. And as part of our improvement philosophy which keeps on, we are always finding better ways of doing things, and make better products our customers love and trust.”