Toyota Tops U.S. Auto Sales for 2021, Ending GM’s 90-Year Streak

General Motors had a long, successful run as the country’s top-selling automaker

In 2021, though, that run came to an end.

Toyota Motor dethroned GM last year, ending a run that began in 1931.

GM reported vehicle sales of 2.2 million in the U.S. in 2021, down nearly 13% from the year before. Meanwhile, Toyota was reporting sales of 2.3 million vehicles in 2021, an increase of more than 10% over 2020.

Jack Hollis, Toyota North America’s senior vice president of automotive operations, downplayed the company’s No. 1 ranking.

“Yes, we did surpass General Motors in sales,” he told reporters during a call Tuesday, according to a report by CNBC. “But to be clear, that is not our goal, nor do we see it as sustainable.”

Data from industry publiclation Automotive News shows GM became the largest seller of vehicles in 1931, when it passed Ford Motor, according to the CNBC report.

GM said its fourth-quarter production and wholesale deliveries were up significantly from the third quarter as supplies increased. Dealer inventory, including in-transit vehicles on their way to dealers, was 199,662 at the end of the fourth quarter, up from 128,757 cars and trucks at the end of the third quarter, CNBC reported.

GM struggled thanks to the semiconductor chip shortage. Sales of its highly important Chevrolet Silverado pickup were down 10.8%. The Silverado is Chevy’s best-selling vehicle.

Industry analysts and forecasters are mixed on their sales forecasts for 2022 due to the volatility in the market, according to the CNBC report. They range from about 15.2 million vehicles to around 16 million vehicles or better.

In  a press release, GM North America President Steve Carlisle said the automaker plans to “increase its sales and marker share … potentially regaining its sales title.”

“In 2022, we plan to take advantage of the strong economy and anticipated improved semiconductor supplies to grow our sales and share,” he said.