WASHINGTON – Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp outsold General Motors Co. in the United States for the first nine months of 2021 as the Detroit automaker grappled with production problems stemming from the semiconductor chip shortage.
Toyota during the first nine months sold 1.86 million vehicles compared with GM’s 1.78 million, or just over 80,000 more vehicles, data released on Friday showed.
GM has been hard hit by the chip crisis but it said that starting next week most of its North American plants would be running at regular production.
GM said its third-quarter US sales fell nearly 33% to 446,997 vehicles, its worst sales quarter in more than a decade, according to Automotive News. GM’s sales are up 0.1% for the first nine months. Its shares, which have gained more than one-fourth in value this year, closed up 0.8% on Friday.
Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker by volume, said its US sales rose 1.4% to 566,005 vehicles in the quarter and are up 27.9% in the first nine months.
A Toyota spokesman said the U.S. sales figures in 2021 were an anomaly due to the chips issue and the automaker emphasized it has never been focused on being No. 1 in terms of sales.
Cars use chips in their infotainment systems, while the pandemic has fueled higher demand for chips as more people work from home and depend on smartphones and other electronics.
For all of 2020, GM sold 2.55 million vehicles in the United States compared with Toyota’s 2.11 million, which was ahead of Ford’s 2.04 million.
For the quarter, Nissan’s US sales fell 10%, while U.S. sales of Chrysler parent Stellantis were down 19%.