DETROIT — General Motors' U.S. light-vehicle sales plunged 43 percent in the fourth quarter to a new post-bankruptcy low as the global microchip shortage continued to pummel production. For all of 2021, GM's sales fell 13 percent to 2.20 million, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center, falling behind Toyota Motor North America for the first time.
GM delivered 436,358 vehicles from October through December, making the fourth quarter the worst since the first quarter of 2009. The performance came a year after GM's best retail sales quarter since 2007, GM said Tuesday.
GM sold 2,202,598 vehicles in 2021, 129,663 fewer than Toyota. It was GM's worst sales year since 2009 and third worst since 1952, according to Automotive News' Data Center.
GM said the chip crisis drove much of its sales decline. AutoForecast Solutions estimates that 11.31 million vehicles — including 3.4 million in North America — were eliminated from global production schedules last year because of chip-related parts shortages.
All four of GM's U.S. brands posted double-digit sales declines in the fourth quarter, including in the lucrative full-size pickup segment. Chevrolet Silverado volume fell 36 percent, and GMC Sierra sales slipped 26 percent.
The Escalade was the only Cadillac with higher sales in the quarter, and it became the brand's top-selling nameplate for the first time since 2007.
Excluding commercial trucks, the only Chevrolet nameplates to achieve a fourth-quarter sales increase were full-size SUVs. Sales rose 3.3 percent for the Suburban and 7.6 percent for the Tahoe.
Brands: Buick, down 35%; Cadillac, down 48%; Chevrolet, down 45%; GMC, down 38%.
U.S. market share: 14.6% in 2021, down from 17.4% in 2020.
Notable nameplates: Buick Enclave, down 30%; Encore GX, down 41%; Envision, up 9.6%; Cadillac Escalade, up 2.2 percent; XT6, down 59%; Chevrolet Blazer, down 14%; Colorado, down 23%; Corvette, down 7.8%; Equinox, down 82%; Silverado, down 36%; Suburban, up 3.3%; Tahoe, up 7.6%; Trailblazer, down 5.8%; Trax, down 95%; GMC Acadia, down 80%; Sierra, down 26%; Yukon, down 1.1%.
Q4 incentives: $1,813 per vehicle, 65% lower than a year earlier, TrueCar says.
Q4 average transaction price: $50,149, up 15% from a year earlier, according to TrueCar.
Fleet mix: TrueCar forecasts 16.8% in December. GM says commercial fleet sales rose 10 percent for full-size pickups, 59 percent for full-size SUVs and 37 percent for midsize pickups.
Inventory: Inventory, including vehicles in-transit to dealerships, was 199,662 at the end of the fourth quarter, up from 128,757 vehicles as of Sept. 30, GM said.
Quote: "In 2022, we plan to take advantage of the strong economy and anticipated improved semiconductor supplies to grow our sales and share," Steve Carlisle, president of GM North America, said in a statement. "We will also further strengthen our industry leadership in trucks and begin our drive to EV leadership in North America with the rollouts of the GMC Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyriq and the reveals of the Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV."