Reduced inventories crippled sales of new vehicles as Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Hyundai and Kia all reported their sales dropped during November despite what was described by many as strong demand.
Kia reported a relatively modest drop in sales for November; however, the South Korean brand’s total sales through the first 11 months of 2021 surpassed the sales record the company set for all 12 months last year.
Kia sold 77% of its available inventory and continued to see increased demand for its hybrid and battery-electric vehicles, sales of which have nearly doubled since this time last year, further demonstrating the rising appeal of those vehicles with consumers — it will be a trend throughout this report.
“Breaking the all-time annual sales record with one month left in the sales cycle is concrete proof that demand for Kia vehicles is on the rise and has been throughout the year,” said Eric Watson, vice president, sales operations, Kia America.
“With the all-new Kia EV6 arriving soon and the Sportage, including hybrid and plug-in hybrid models arriving throughout the first half of 2022, we are confident that the interest in Kia will not wane anytime soon.”
Hyundai sales of electrified vehicles climb
Hyundai Motor America reported total November sales dropped 20% compared with November 2020, but sales of the company’s growing line eco-friendly vehicles grew 165 percent.
“Consumer demand remains exceptionally high, and our dealers are doing a fantastic job of turning vehicles quickly and selling many before they even hit the lot,” said Randy Parker, senior vice president, national sales, Hyundai Motor America.
“Lingering availability issues persisted into November, but we are optimistic that we will close the year strong.”
Japanese brands see steep declines
American Honda reported a 17.1% drop in sales as Acura brand sales fell 21.2% and Honda brand sales dropped 16.6% due to what the company described as limited inventory.
Subaru of America said November sales dropped 35% compared with year-ago results. So far this year, Subaru sales have dropped 3% as inventories declined.
“As we head into the final month of the year, we are thankful for our retailers, whose sales efficiency is absolutely unparalleled. Like other automakers, our vehicle production has been impacted by the global semi-conductor chip shortage, but our top priority is meeting the demand for Subaru vehicles,” said Thomas Doll, president and CEO, Subaru of America.
Toyota and Lexus reported a steep decline in sales during November. Toyota brand sales fell 27.4% while Lexus sales dropped 35.1 percent. Unsurprisingly, TMNA’s electrified vehicle sales increased 11%, accounting for nearly 28% of the total sales last month compared to 18.5% in November 2020.
“The market is stuck in low gear,” noted Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough. “We believe there are potential buyers out there, but many are waiting on the sidelines, put off by limited selection and high prices.”
Cox also estimated the annual sales pace in November is expected to finish near 13.4 million units, up from last month’s 13 million, but down from November 2020’s COVID-recovery pace of 15.9 million.