Toyota dethrones GM as top-selling U.S. automaker

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

Toyota Motor North America dethroned General Motors Co. as the leading U.S. automaker in 2021. 

The Japanese automaker outsold GM by more than 114,000 vehicles in 2021, with more than 2.3 million vehicles sold for the year. GM sold 2.2 million vehicles in 2021, dropping 13% from 2020 as the automaker battled a chip shortage that crunched inventory levels on dealer lots. 

GM took a major hit in the fourth quarter with a 43% year-over-year drop in sales to 440,745. Ford Motor Co., which reports its fourth-quarter and full-year sales Wednesday, had sold 1.7 million vehicles in the U.S. through November and would need to have sold 600,000 units in December to surpass Toyota.

Data dating to 1991 from Inc., a vehicle information website, show GM had always been above Toyota until this year. 

“It seems oddly fitting that 2021, already an extraordinarily unusual year for the automotive industry, will be capped off with General Motors losing its sales crown to another automaker for the first time in decades," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights, in a statement. "There’s no question that this is a remarkable feat for Toyota, but this is not likely a sign of a long-term change: GM has an advantage in that it has more brands and products for consumers to choose from, namely large trucks and SUVs, which have only increased in popularity over the years."

Stellantis NV also reports quarterly and full-year sales Tuesday. 

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