Basic Motors and Toyota Motor suffered vital drops in automobile and truck gross sales in the USA within the first three months of the yr as the worldwide scarcity of pc chips continued to disrupt manufacturing and depart sellers with naked heaps.
G.M. reported on Friday that its gross sales declined 20 p.c to 512,846 gentle automobiles and lightweight vans. Toyota, which is the world’s largest automaker, bought 514,592 automobiles within the first three months of the yr, a drop of 15 p.c. The corporate’s sluggish gross sales worsened later within the quarter, declining 24 p.c in March from a yr earlier.
Edmunds, an automotive knowledge supplier, forecast complete business gross sales of three.2 million automobiles within the quarter, down from 3.9 million a yr in the past.
“Skyrocketing fuel costs have been high of thoughts for shoppers in March, however the lack of stock is what finally depressed new automobile gross sales within the first quarter,” Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’s government director of insights, mentioned. “Automakers are nonetheless grappling with ongoing disruptions to provide chains and manufacturing created by the chip scarcity and Covid-19. On high of that, they’re seemingly dealing with new challenges because of the invasion of Ukraine.”
Rivian, an electrical automobile producer that not too long ago started promoting a pickup truck, additionally pointed to the battle in Ukraine in its annual report on Thursday, saying the battle has impacted a number of aspects of its enterprise and operations.
Ms. Caldwell predicted automaker and sellers could be grappling with stock shortages for the remainder of this yr.
G.M. mentioned its sellers had 273,760 automobiles in stock or in transit to their heaps. That was an enchancment from the second half of final yr however fewer than on the finish of March 2021, when its sellers had 334,628 automobiles in inventory.
Nonetheless, firm officers mentioned they have been assured that chip provides would enhance quickly. “Provide chain disruptions aren’t absolutely behind us, however we count on to proceed outperforming 2021 manufacturing ranges, particularly within the second half of the yr,” Steve Carlisle, an government vp who can be president of G.M. North America, mentioned in a press release.
G.M. mentioned a powerful labor market, greater manufacturing and pent-up demand ought to assist enhance its complete gross sales of latest automobiles and vans in the USA this yr, above the 15 million bought in 2021.
“Ordinarily, a U.S. economic system this robust would translate into gentle automobile gross sales within the 17-million vary,” G.M.’s chief economist, Elaine Buckberg, mentioned. “Enhancements within the provide chain ought to elevate auto gross sales because the yr progresses, regardless of headwinds from greater inflation and gasoline costs.”
G.M.’s gross sales of electrical automobiles, the quickest rising section of the auto market, remained very low within the first quarter. The corporate bought fewer than 500, 99 of them Hummer pickup vans.
Toyota, which doesn’t but promote a totally electrical automobile in the USA, mentioned it had robust demand for hybrid fashions, gross sales of which fell simply 4 p.c within the first quarter.
Honda, Stellantis and different automakers are anticipated to report their gross sales totals afterward Friday. Ford Motor plans to launch its gross sales figures on Monday.