Auto sales in 2022 have lagged from prior years, with a perfect storm of events colliding to drive down the profits. Among a continuing shortage of computer chips, supply-chain issues, lack of discounts, the inflation that has led to higher interest rates and the war in Ukraine, sales of new cars and trucks are expected to total 13.7 million this year, according to Cox Automotive.
That’s down by about 9% from 2021, when 15 million cars were sold, and nearly 20% from 2019, when sales hit 17.1 million, Forbes reported.
In fact, Cox shrunk its reduced its projections from the beginning of the year, when it forecast sales of 16 million, three times by the end of the third quarter.
“The supply shortage has likely created some pent-up demand — folks who were essentially waiting in line for inventory to return,” Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist for Cox Automotive, said in a Sept. 28 webinar. “But the recent changes in the economic outlook from rising interest rates is beginning to chip away at demand, and the waiting line for new vehicles is likely getting much shorter.”
As the end of the fourth quarter approaches, it’s clear that some car manufacturers have taken a worse hit than others when it comes to sales. Just how have some of the familiar brands fared in 2022? Read on to learn about the fortunes of Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Tesla and Toyota.
Chevrolet is an arm of General Motors, which Cox Automotive identified as one of three companies to finish the third quarter with strong sales figures.
GoodCarBadCar, which tracks sales in the automotive industry, said Chevrolet sold more than 340,000 vehicles in each of the first three quarters of 2022. Only Toyota and Ford outsold their rival. While they represent an uptick in sales over the final two quarters of 2021, the numbers lag far behind the sales in the fourth quarter or 2020, when Chevrolet sold 520,989 units.
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The Ford Motor Co. was one of the biggest winners in the first three quarters of this year, with more than 410,000 units sold in each quarter, per GoodCarBadCar. In its October report to investors, Ford had positive news.
“Ford continues to see strong demand for its vehicles, with orders for [2023 model year] vehicles up 134% over this time last year,” said Andrew Frick, the vice president of sales, distribution and trucks at Ford Blue. “The all-new Super Duty saw a record 52,000 orders in just five days. The F-Series continued as America’s No. 1 truck, expanding its lead over our second-place competitor to more than 100,000 trucks this year. We doubled our electric vehicle sales. F-150 Lightning had its best monthly sales performance since launch.”
The 2022 news hasn’t been nearly as good for Japan-based Honda. In the second quarter of 2021, Honda sold nearly 436,000 vehicles, according to GoodCarBadCar’s sales figures. In the same quarter of 2022, the number plunged by more than half to 215,165. Its year-to-date sales were down 34.3% through the first three quarters.
American Honda’s sales in Q3 fell for the fifth straight quarter, with the company plagued by a shortage of vehicles due to ongoing supply-chain issues. However, American Honda’s fortunes could be looking up. On Nov. 1, the company reported that November sales numbers reached nearly 80,000 units, representing its best figures since April. The most popular models were the Honda crossovers, with CR-V sales hitting almost 20,000 units and the HR-V at more than 9,000 sold. The Accord Hybrid hits its eighth monthly record this year, with more than 3,300 sold, the company reported.
With gas prices at record levels for part of 2022, it’s no wonder that Tesla and its electric vehicles have been a shining star. Tesla skyrocketed to 139,300 units sold in the third quarter of 2020, only to experience a drop to between 64,000 and 84,000 cars sold each in each of the next five quarters.
But 2022 has been a different story for Tesla, with 163,371 sold in the first quarter, followed by sales of 118,700 and 113,998 in each of the next two, GoodCarBadCar reports.
Still, Tesla has been under fire for sales that didn’t reach Wall Street’s projections because of delivery and production backlogs. CEO Elon Musk, in a conference call with investors and analysts in October, said prospective buyers are clamoring for the cars.
“We have excellent demand for Q4 and we expect to sell every car that we make for as far into the future as we can see,” he said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Knock on wood, it looks like we’ll have an epic end of year.”
Toyota has occupied the same rare air as Ford this year, with sales of more than 410,000 vehicles each quarter. That was an improvement over the fourth quarter of 2021, when sales fell short of 385,000.
Toyota Motor North America, which includes Lexus vehicles, said its September sales were up 17.1% over September 2021. The numbers were boosted by the popularity of electrified units, which represented about one-fifth of all sales in the month.
“While our teams and dealers continue to face ongoing challenges, taking care of our customers and their needs remains a top priority,” Jack Hollis, executive vice president of sales, said in a news release. “Through the end of 2022, customers can expect even more electrified options in showrooms from both brands, including four new Corolla hybrid grades, the all-new Toyota Crown with two hybrid options, and the all-new Lexus RX with available hybrid.”
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