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GM beats Toyota in US auto sales on strong demand

General Motors overtook Japanese carmaker Toyota in US automobile sales last year, according to company figures released Wednesday, reclaiming the top spot on strong demand after earlier supply difficulties.

In 2021, the automakers saw a rankings shift with Toyota jumping ahead for the first time as a semiconductors shortage shook the car industry. Assembly lines took a hit and both companies saw steep sales declines.

But on Wednesday, GM said its 2022 sales in the United States jumped three percent to around 2.3 million units.

This was higher than Toyota's reported annual figure of 2.1 million vehicles.

Nearly half of GM's sales last year were of full-size pickup trucks and big SUVs, as the company turned to higher margin vehicles while supply problems spilled over into 2022.

In the fourth quarter, GM's deliveries in the US surged 41 percent, and sales under the Cadillac brand rocketed 75 percent, the company said.

Its Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV electric vehicles also delivered their "best sales year ever," GM said, adding that it sees opportunities to grow its electric vehicle market share this year.

Meanwhile, Toyota's US deliveries dropped 9.6 percent for all of 2022. Sales of its SUVs, an important segment, dropped 8.6 percent.

But it touted its electrified vehicle sales, saying these made up nearly a quarter of total sales volume last year.

Full-year sales for the industry in 2022 are forecast at 13.9 million units, according to Cox Automotive.

This would be a drop from 2021 and lowest since 2011, when total new vehicle sales were recovering from the Great Recession, Cox added.

The auto industry started the year with supply issues, with high material costs and chip shortages.

But while inventory has since improved, analysts expect that rising interest rates are holding back demand in the consumer market.

bys/st