General Motors reported its sales fell by a third during the third quarter, while companies such as Toyota and Honda reported double digit drops in sales during September.
The Detroit-based automakers said while the 32.8% drop in sales during the third quarter looks bleak, the overall situation around the shortages appears to be improving — which will help boost future numbers, GM executives said.
“GM has been agile and decisive in managing COVID-related impacts on our production and wholesale volumes and we appreciate the support of our dealers and the loyalty of our customers,” said Steve Carlisle, executive vice president and president, GM North America.
“The semiconductor supply disruptions that impacted our third-quarter wholesale and customer deliveries are improving. As we look to the fourth quarter, a steady flow of vehicles held at plants will continue to be released to dealers, we are restarting production at key crossover and car plants, and we look forward to a more stable operating environment through the fall.”
Sales by Japanese automakers dip
Toyota Motor North America, which benefited from stockpiling semiconductors earlier this year, also reported U.S. September sales dropped 22.4% versus September 2020.
For the third quarter of 2021, TMNA reported U.S. sales of 566,005 vehicles, an increase of 1.4% volume and DSR basis.
Honda also reported a 24.7% drop in sales for September, while Acura sales dropped 27.3% last month. For the third quarter, Honda’s sales dropped 10.9% while Acura’s fell 2.8 percent.
“The enduring nature of the microchip shortage and port congestion issues continue to constrain the entire industry, but we are encouraged by the record sales of Honda models where we have adequate inventory,” said Dave Gardner, executive vice president of National Operations at American Honda.
Nissan Group, which releases quarterly sales figures, announced total U.S. third quarter declined by 10% versus the prior year despite strong showing by new Nissan Pathfinder and Nissan Frontier, which saw its sales jump 62 percent.
Koreans sales results hold steady
South Korean automakers continue to weather the shortages.
Hyundai Motor America reported only a minimal drop in sales during September as sales declined by 2% for the month, which was significantly better than industry predictions that forecasted a 25% decline in September. Hyundai also set new September total sales records for Palisade, Ioniq HEV, Kona EV and Nexo.
“Hyundai dealerships continue to do an outstanding job of working with customers during this challenging inventory environment, resulting in market share gains for the brand,” said Randy Parker, senior vice president, National Sales, Hyundai Motor America. “On the year, we’ve gained the second most market share in the industry and we expect that trend to continue for September.”
Kia, the other South Korean automaker, reported a 4.7% decline in sales for September. Kia’s year-to-date sales are up 9% thanks to record sales for the third quarter despite the lackluster September figures.
“Kia sales continued to break records and build upon the momentum seen since the start of the year, despite the ongoing supply chain issues facing the industry,” said Eric Watson, vice president, sales operations, Kia America. “Our record setting performance in Q3 reinforced confidence that our positive sales trajectory will continue well into 2022.”
Analysts expected the chip shortages to disrupt sales in September.
Thomas King, president of the data and analytics division at J.D. Power, noted September results show there are simply not enough vehicles available to meet consumer demand. In September 2019, 1.02 million retail sales occurred as buyers chose from 2.9 million vehicles in inventory. This month, retail customers will buy 888,900 vehicles, with just 920,000 in inventory.