Toyota, GM sales fall due to chip shortage, supply chain snags

Toyota and General Motors on Friday reported a slump in US sales in the first quarter as industry-wide supply chain disruptions and chip shortages put pressure on inventories.

Surpassing GM’s decades-old position as the top-selling automaker in the United States in 2021, Toyota sold the company in the first quarter due to increased demand for its Lexus hybrid and electric vehicles.

Automakers are grappling with a global chip shortage that has forced them to cut production, although high car prices have partially offset the impact of tight inventories.

“Supply chain disruptions are not completely behind us, but we expect to continue to exceed production levels for 2021, especially in the second half of the year,” said Steve Carlisle, executive vice president and president of GM North America.

Supply bottlenecks have begun to ease in recent months, but progress has been stalled by Russia’s war on Ukraine and new lockdowns in China following a resurgence of COVID-19 infections.

“It takes time to build up the inventory because a lot of vehicles coming in now have already been sold to someone. So unfortunately we’ll probably have soft numbers for at least a few more months,” said Morningstar analyst David Whiston.

Results by car manufacturer:

— GM quarterly sales were down 20.1% to 512,846 vehicles, pushing its morning trading share down 1.04% to $43.28. The automaker said improved semiconductor inventories helped production in the quarter, but expects inventory to remain relatively low throughout the year due to strong demand.

—Toyota said sales fell nearly 15% to 514,592 vehicles.

– BMW was one of the few winners of the quarter, with an overall sales increase of 3.2% in the first quarter, compared to Q1 2021. X-model SUVs accounted for 57% of sales. And sales of Minis were up 9.4%.

— Mazda reported sales of 33,023 vehicles in March, an increase of 3.2% compared to March 2021. Sales totaled 82,268 vehicles — a decrease of 1.2%.

— Nissan reported sales of 201,081 vehicles in the first quarter, down 29.6%. Leaf, Altima and Frontier all saw major sales increases.

— Subaru sales fell 17.5% in the first quarter to 132,346 vehicles. Subaru cited supply chain shortages as the cause.

— Porsche sales fell 24.9% to 13,042, and the company also cited supply and delivery issues. It noted it would come in 2021, the strongest year for U.S. sales in brand history.

Mitsubishi focused only on retail sales in its report, which rose 44.7%. While overall sales were down 6.5%, from 28,231 vehicles in Q1 last year to 26,400 in Q1 2022. Outlander saw a 218% increase and Eclipse Cross was up 152%.