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General Motors Passed as Top U.S. Seller for First Time Since 1931

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Jan. 6, 2021—General Motors, for the first time since 1931, is no longer the top selling car company in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reported. 

Toyota has passed GM for the top spot after it outsold GM by roughly 114,000 vehicles in 2021.  Toyota’s total U.S. sales of 2.3 million rose about 10% compared with 2020.

By contrast, GM reported a nearly 13 percent slide in results for a total of 2.2 million vehicles sold in 2021, as the semiconductor shortage took a bigger toll on the company’s manufacturing operations and left dealers with fewer vehicles to sell.

Toyota has largely benefited from its decision to stockpile computer chips. It bet earlier than most other automakers on a recovering U.S. car market and cut parts and production orders less sharply than rivals, making it better prepared for an eventual surge in consumer demand.

While Toyota executives say they were successful in navigating some of last year’s supply-chain constraints, they don’t view the lead over GM as a permanent shift in the industry’s closely watched sales rankings.

“To be clear, this is not our goal, nor do we see it as sustainable,” said Jack Hollis, Toyota’s senior vice president of operations in North America. He added that the company doesn’t expect to use its dethroning of GM last year in its advertising.

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