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Chip shortages cost GM the US vehicle sales crown it’s held since 1931

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Toyota takes the lead

Photo by Sean O’Kane / The Verge

General Motors is no longer the top seller of vehicles in the US as reported Tuesday by CNBC. The Detroit powerhouse lost the crown to Toyota, which reportedly sold about 114,000 more vehicles than GM in 2021.

GM reported Tuesday that total sales were down almost 13 percent last year due to semiconductor shortages. Vehicle and technology companies worldwide have been faced with production difficulties due to chip shortages, and GM has had to cut features from some vehicles, such as wireless chargers and HD radios, due to supply issues.

But things are looking up for GM — the parent company of Chevrolet and GMC says the chip situation is improving. “In 2022, we plan to take advantage of the strong economy and anticipated improved semiconductor supplies to grow our sales and share. We will also further strengthen our industry leadership in trucks and begin our drive to EV leadership in North America,” Steve Carlisle, GM’s president of North America, said in a statement. A major focus for the company now is bolstering its electric vehicle lineup with the new Hummer EV (which it has begun delivering) plus the upcoming Silverado and Denali EVs.

Toyota, meanwhile, boasted record years for many cars despite having to cut some production last year due to the chip shortage. The (now) top automaker in the US leads in sales of sedans with the Camry, SUVs with the RAV4, and minivans with the Sienna, according to a press release. The company also reported that it was the “number one seller of electrified vehicles for the 22nd consecutive year” — although it has yet to actually ship a fully electric one.