Toyota Took GM’s U.S. Sales Crown in 2021, Analysts Say, but Does It Matter?


General Motors might lose its U.S. sales crown after 2021, analysts estimate. That would be the first time since 1931 that GM is not the leadersof vehicle sales in its domestic market. 71 years ago, GM beat Ford to the top spot of sales in the U.S. back then and has not lost the crown since. This time, Toyota is the company that may beat GM at its own game. However, it is worth pointing out that we are just working with estimates here, as both companies have yet to release their sales figures for the last quarter of 2021, which may bring a photo finish to the mix. According to figures that refer to the first nine months of 2021, Toyota had 1.86 million vehicles sold in the U.S., while GM had 1.78 million, which puts the difference at just 80,000 vehicles in the Japanese conglomerate’s favor. Of course, there is a chance that the balance could have shifted back in GM’s direction, but do not bet anything on it. Back in 2020, GM managed to sell 2.55 million vehicles in the U.S., while Toyota sold 2.1 million vehicles, and Ford came in third with 2.04 million units. As GM’s spokesperson explained for Reuters, the Detroit conglomerate had a “very strong sales year” in the U.S. in full-size SUVs and pickup truck segments, and it focused on profitability instead of sales figures. Industry analysts forecast that Toyota has succeeded in beating GM in sales, but GM’s spokesperson, Jim Cain, told journalists that he “would not rush out” and get a “We’re No.1 tattoo” (paraphrased for clarity). Meanwhile, Toyota’s representatives stated that they are “grateful for its loyal customers, but being No. 1 is never a focus or priority.” The statements came from Jack Hollis, Senior Vice President of Toyota USA. Many years ago, Toyota and GM were fighting for the global sales crown. Back in 2015, the Japanese conglomerate beat the Volkswagen Group in worldwide sales, but the Takata airbag recall scandal that followed brought a shift in company perspective. However, in early 2021, Toyota had yet again beat the Volkswagen Group in worldwide sales due to strong results in China. With the global chip shortage still going strong, being a leader in sales on a market does not seem as important as it once was, and the resulting victory may be bittersweet.