Toyota outsells General Motors annually for the first time in US history.
With the weakest December volume since 2011, down -27% year-on-year to 1.19 million units, the year ends on a low for U.S. new light vehicle sales. This is the steepest year-on-year decline of the year, and the Seasonally Adjusted Annualise Rate of sales (SAAR) is down from 16.49m units in December 2020 to 12.4m this month. Q4 2021 sales are off -21.4% year-on-year to 3,288,847 units according to Automotive News. This means the Full Year 2021 volume stands at 15,060,287 units, up just 3.3% on a 2020 result deeply impacted by Covid. As is the case in most of the world, the microchip crisis has prevented a robust recovery in 2021 U.S. sales. Tight supply and strong demand means the average transaction prices have soared to record levels this year, passing the symbolic $45,000 for the first time in December at $45,743, up 20% on December 2020 when prices were at $38,000, an all-time high at the time. Another long term market trends, light trucks (pickups, crossovers, SUVs and vans) are expected to hold a record 80.2% of the market in December according to LMC Automotive.
The Ford F-Series has now been USA’s best-selling vehicle for 40 straight years.
Arguably the biggest story of the year, in 2021 Toyota Motor (+10.4%) ends the 90-year reign of General Motors (-13.1%) thanks to sturdy sales up by double-digits. It’s not a shy win either, with Toyota coming up with a 130,000-unit advantage over the Full Year. General Motors had held the #1 manufacturer crown from 1931 to 2020. Ford Motor (-7%) remains in third place above Stellantis (-2.3%), but topped Q4. Hyundai-Kia (+21.6%) sports the largest year-on-year uptick among mass groups, enough to overtake American Honda (+8.9%) also dynamic. Nissan Motor/Mitsubishi (+9.4%) and the VW Group (+12.6%) also defy the negative market to post strong gains. Below, the BMW Group (+19.5%) also impresses.
Looking at the brands ranking, here too Toyota (+10.3%) takes control by passing Ford (-6.5%) and ending the year with a 223,000-unit advantage. Chevrolet (-17.7%) freefalls but remains in third above Honda (+8.2%), Nissan (+12.1%) and Jeep (-2.1%) all camping on their 2020 rankings. Hyundai (+18.6%) and Kia (+19.7%) deliver the largest gains in the Top 10 by far – Kia even posting a record annual volume , with Ram (+3.6%) also up at #9 but down two spots. Subaru (-4.6%) close the Top 10 and ended the year with 7 consecutive months of decline. Outstanding results especially given the negative context for Volkswagen (+15.1%), BMW (+20.8%) and Mazda (+19.2%) but Tesla (+65.5%) tops them all. Further down, notice Genesis (+202.9%), Porsche (+22.2%), Mitsubishi (+16.8%), Acura (+14.9%) and Land Rover (+13.7%) while among smaller luxury brands Maserati (+32.1%), Rolls Royce (+27.4%), Lamborghini (+24.6%) and Bentley (+21.3%) stand out.
In the models ranking, the Ford F-Series (-7.8%) drops to its lowest annual volume since 2012 but that doesn’t prevent it from celebrating 40 consecutive years as the country’s best-selling vehicle (no interruption since 1982). The F-Series has now been the best-selling pickup truck in the USA for 45 straight years (since 1977). The Ram Pickup (+1%) manages a year-on-year uptick and reclaims the 2nd spot overall for the second time in the past 3 years, discarding the Chevrolet Silverado (-10.8%). This means the podium is 100% large pickups for the 8th consecutive year and the 9th time in the past two decades along with 2003 and every year since 2014.
The Toyota RAV4 (-5.3%) is once again the best-selling SUV in the country, that’s the 5th consecutive year but the Honda CR-V (+11.7%) is catching up at 46,500 units below vs. 107,000 last year. The Toyota Camry (+6.6%) doubles the market growth to remain the best-selling Passenger Car in the USA for the 20th consecutive year, recording 24 wins in the past 25 years (only interruption by the Honda Accord in 2001). This means 2021 marks the 25th straight year the best-selling car in the USA is Japanese, the last American sedan to be crowned #1 being the Ford Taurus in 1996. Below, we have a trio of great performing SUVs: the Nissan Rogue (+25.3%) up 5 spots to #7, the Jeep Grand Cherokee (+26.1%) up 7 ranks to #8 and the Toyota Highlander (+24.4%) up 5 to #9. They relegate the Honda Civic (+1%) to #10. The Toyota Tacoma (+5.7%) is down one spot to #11 but scores a record annual volume, with the Toyota Corolla (+5%) also down one to #12. The Tesla Model Y is estimated to be up 116.3% and 37 ranks to #17. The most successful 2021 launch is the Ford Bronco at #111 ahead of the VW Taos (#118), VW ID.4 (#169), Ford Maverick (#185) and Hyundai Santa Cruz (#200).
Previous month: USA November 2021: Ford (+7.5%) ignores market off -16%
Full Q4 2021 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 295 models below.
Full Year 2021 Top 15 groups, Top 40 brands and Top 325 models vs. Full Year 2020 figures below.