Wild Ride of US Auto Sales to 2022, Down from 1977. Charts for GM, Toyota, Ford, Stellantis, Hyundai-Kia, Honda and Nissan oh Dear

Who got the chip, who didn’t: Hyundai-Kia sales near all-time high in 2022, Honda’s sales collapsed.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

The thing about new car sales in the US is that even in good years, they’re bad, and terrible in bad years.

The total number of new vehicles delivered to retail customers and fleets (dominated by the rental fleet) in 2022 is down 8% from an already dire 2021 to 13.7 million vehicles, which is 13.7 million vehicles from 1977 deliveries in 2016. was 16.4% lower than the peak of the year. , and down 20.8% from the previous peak in 2000.

Automakers have been selling more expensive cars to generate dollar revenue amid decades of stagnant or declining unit sales. safer vehicles – I mean, even the base F-150 pickup truck now has a 10-speed automatic transmission, that sort of thing.

But years ago, high-end and increasingly high prices began to contribute to the recession because there was a shortage of high-end Americans.

But 2022 was special: chip shortages and a shift in demand to fuel-efficient cars.

The semiconductor shortage began to bite in late 2020, worsened in 2021 and extended into 2022, and is still ongoing, albeit to a lesser extent.

In this environment, when automakers were able to get the semiconductors they needed, they were able to build and sell vehicles, and sales were strong – Toyota by September 2021, Hyundai and Kia in 2021 and 2022, nice to have excellent relationships with Korean semiconductor manufacturers . When only one of the thousands of semiconductors in a model ran out, they couldn’t make that model and there was nothing to sell, dealer stocks ran out and sales dropped – Honda and Toyota in 2022. Major U.S. automakers have had trouble everywhere.

In addition, fueled by rising gasoline prices in early 2022, auto demand has suddenly shifted to more fuel-efficient vehicles, especially small and midsize cars and compact SUVs, and EVs, which legacy automakers can’t produce enough of. Supply chains and manufacturing were ill-prepared to accommodate this change.

Thus, inventory shortages in 2022 shifted from pickup trucks and SUVs to fuel-efficient vehicles that disappeared from dealer lots in 2021 and are currently in ample supply, and dealers stocked up on these vehicles in 2022.

Total inventory reached 1.64 million vehicles through November, but that’s still down 54% from November 2019, according to data from Cox Automotive:

Shortages led to price increases.

Classically, the MSRP is set before the new model year vehicles arrive at the dealership and will then not change throughout the model year. In normal years, automakers and dealers haggle over discounts, dealer promotions, and customer incentives to stimulate sales (the exception is Tesla, which sells directly; it changes prices on its website at any time).

But in 2021 and 2022, those discounts, dealer incentives and customer rebates disappeared, and dealers were able to sell cars for thousands of dollars above MSRP because Americans who could afford them were suddenly eager to pay for everything, which they rarely do. normal times.

In addition, car manufacturers, who could only produce a limited number of cars due to chip shortages, prioritized their most expensive models and raised prices. So I ended up writing this crazy article: $1,768/mo Ford Pickup $10,407 Down With 5% APR? Update on Q3 New Car Finance.

As a result, after all incentives and extra tags, average transaction prices rose 33% over three years, from $34,900 in December 2019 to $46,400 in December 2022, according to JD Power. This price increase has now leveled off.

The chart shows average transaction prices in June and December of each year; the green line connects the Decembers. Notice how the normal seasonality—the mid-year dip in average transaction prices—has all but disappeared lately:

Wild Ride of seven of the largest car manufacturers in the United States.

Note: the first four graphs – the big four – are on the same scale to show their relative sales to each other. The remaining three major automakers don’t sell enough to show up on these charts, and they each have their own scale.

General Motors: sales increased by 2.5% year-on-year to 2.274 million vehicles. But that’s down 26% from its last peak in 2015, after declines in 2020 and 2021 and sales declines in each of the previous four years:

Toyota: During the first half of 2021, Toyota secured abundant semiconductor supplies thanks to special agreements with its suppliers. But then it also ran out, and by September 2021 vehicles were running out. Nevertheless, the strength in the first three quarters of 2021 was enough to make it No. 1 in the US for the first time.

In 2022, inventory disappeared after a series of production cuts, and sales fell 9.6% to 2.11 million vehicles, down 16% from their last peak in 2015:

Ford: Sales fell another 2.2% year over year, the 7th consecutive year of decline. Sales are down 28% from their last peak in 2015:

Stellantis (FCA US): Sales are down 13% year over year and down 32% from their last peak in 2015:

The following charts of the remaining three major U.S. automakers are each on their own scale.

Hyundai-Kia: Can build vehicles that can buy chips and have something to sell. This helps other Korean companies become global powerhouses in semiconductor manufacturing. Thus, Hyundai-Kia sales hit an all-time record in 2021 and fell 1.5% from the record in 2022 to 1.42 million vehicles:

Honda: Like Toyota, it managed a fairly good 2021, but was hit hard by a shortage of semiconductors in late 2021 and 2022, and it ended, with sales down 33% year-on-year. More than 1 million vehicles, down 40% from the 2017 peak:

Nissan: Sales fell 25% year over year to 729,000 and 54% from the 2017 peak. The company was already in big trouble before the pandemic, with sales falling 16% in the two years to 2019 from a peak in 2017. The pandemic and the chip shortage have made it even more difficult:

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