Currently reading: Toyota becomes best-selling manufacturer in US for first time
Japanese firm ends General Motors' 90-year stint as the US market's most popular manufacturer

Toyota has become the best-selling car manufacturer in the US, ending General Motors’ 90-year domination of the market. 

The Japanese giant sold more than 2.3 million vehicles there in 2021 - a 10% increase on the previous year and 100,000 more than GM, which had held the top spot in its home country since 1931. 

Toyota’s success was led by the Corolla, sales of which increased by 5%, and the Camry, which rose 6.6%. However, its most popular car in the US, the RAV4, dropped in sales by 5% year on year. 

Sales of GM vehicles dropped 13% to 2.2 million following a 43% drop in the final quarter, with the usually popular Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck suffering a 30% drop in sales.

GM suggested that the global semiconductor crisis was to blame. 

Toyota’s success is believed to be attributed to its global supply-chain preparation and stockpiling before shortages gripped the automotive industry. 

The Japanese firm, which was the top-seller in the UK in September 2021, maintained its orders and supplies when Covid-19 initially hit, whereas other manufacturers cancelled or reduced their supplies. 

Toyota says it will be difficult to maintain its position as number one in the US once supply-chain issues are resolved and expects competitors to regain ground. 

“That is not our goal,” said Jack Hollis, senior vice-president of Toyota’s US sales division, on outselling GM.

“Being number one is never a focus or priority,” Hollis added on a conference call to reporters, but maintained that the brand was “grateful.” 

Meanwhile, GM says it will bounce back after a year that was still healthy in terms of sales.

"I wouldn't rush out if I were [Toyota] and get a 'we're number one' tattoo," said GM spokesman Jim Cain.

GM will focus on profitability instead of outright sales numbers following its departure from selling vehicles in Europe and Russia, where it's instead moving to mobility solutions.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Caddylad 6 January 2022
Good on Toyota! I think Toyota have finally got back their mojo and creating cars that people want to buy. Having worked for Toyota/Lexus over a decade ago, the products had become bland back then, however the sales and after sales was second to none! If someone gave me the choice of owning a VW group product or a Toyota Corolla, I'd choose the Corolla or a GR Yaris for sure! Would love try out a new GR86! Shame they have not brought out a new MR2.. I had quite a few and loved every second driving one with the roof down.
567 5 January 2022

Some people just want a car that gets them from A to B is reliable and good fuel economy. That's before Toyota having a 10 year warranty if serviced at main dealers.

405line 5 January 2022

Scotty Kilmer will approve.

catnip 5 January 2022

But the VW Group will be furious.