Toyota dethrones GM to become America’s top-selling automaker in 2021

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The Toyota Motor Corp. logo in the Toyota City Showcase exhibit at the company’s Mega Web car theme park in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, Nov. 1, 2021.
Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images

DETROIT – Toyota Motor has dethroned General Motors as America’s top-selling automaker in 2021, marking the first time since 1931 that the Detroit automaker wasn’t the best-selling car company in the U.S.

It also marks the first time a non-domestic automaker has taken the top spot in America.

Toyota was able to manage supply chain issues better, allowing it to take away GM’s throne for the first time in 90 years. An ongoing shortage of semiconductor chips caused sporadic shutdowns of plants and led to record-low vehicle inventories in 2021.

GM said Tuesday it sold 2.2 million vehicles in the U.S. in 2021, down by 12.9% compared to the year earlier. Toyota, by comparison, said it sold 2.3 million vehicles in the U.S. last year, up by 10.4% compared to 2020. The difference in sales between the two automakers was 114,034 vehicles.

GM has been the largest seller of vehicles in the U.S. since 1931, when it surpassed Ford Motor, according to data from industry publication Automotive News.

Aside from Ford, which sold 1.7 million vehicles through November, most major automakers are scheduled to report their fourth-quarter and 2021 total sales on Tuesday. New light-duty vehicle sales are expected to be about 15 million in 2021.

Industry analysts and forecasters are mixed on their sales forecasts for 2022 due to the volatility in the market. They range from about 15.2 million vehicles to around 16 million vehicles or better.

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