U.S. new-vehicle sales slid 9 percent to just over 1 million last month, LMC Automotive said as the microchip shortage and other supply-chain disruptions continue to upend industry stockpiles.
It was the weakest January since 2014, LMC said, but the smallest percentage decline since the market turned negative in the summer of 2021. Hyundai snapped a five-month losing streak with a 10 percent gain in January U.S. sales while volume dropped for the sixth straight month at Toyota Motor Corp. and Kia.
The seasonally adjusted, annualized rate of sales came in at 15.2 million, near the high end of forecasts — 14.1 million to 15.3 million — from J.D. Power-LMC, Cox and TrueCar.
It's the strongest SAAR reading since June's 15.4 million pace, and is up from 12.71 million in December but down sharply from 16.84 million in January 2021.
LMC said initial data indicates that retail sales totalled approximately 900,000 last month, pushing fleet shipments to the lowest level since the pandemic started. Fleet deliveries have also been losing share since October.
Toyota Motor's sales dropped 5.1 percent with deliveries down 6.4 percent at the Toyota division, but rising 5 percent at Lexus, ending four straight monthly declines at the luxury brand. Overall, Toyota Motor's car sales dropped 9.6 percent while light truck deliveries slipped 3 percent.
Four of the Toyota's brand's five biggest sellers generated lower last month: Corolla, down 20 percent; Camry, off 9.7 percent; RAV4, down 6.1 percent and Tacoma, down 19 percent. Highlander sales edged up 2.3 percent.
Toyota Motor said it ended January with a 19-day supply of cars and light trucks, or 123,686 units, with 18,345 in dealer stock and 105,341 at ports.
Ford Motor Co. said January volume was flat, though retail sales rose 0.8 percent. Deliveries rose 1.4 percent at the Ford division but slumped 26 percent at Lincoln. Sales at Ford's luxury brand have now dropped eight consecutive months. The automaker's combined SUV and crossover deliveries rose 8.5 percent, offsetting a 4.3 percent drop in pickup sales.
The company said gross vehicle stocks stood at 202,000 at the end of January — or a 34-day supply — down from 247,000 in December and 418,000 in Jan. 2021.
American Honda said overall sales dropped 20 percent, with Acura declining 33 percent and Honda Division down 19 percent. Acura car sales fell 45 percent and trucks were down 28 percent. Honda Division's car sales fell 23 percent with trucks off 16 percent.
Honda said its supply situation "remains fluid" but anticipates that "inventory will improve as February progresses."
At Hyundai, retail deliveries rose 18 percent, offsetting zero fleet shipments last month. The company set a January record with 47,872 deliveres largely behind four models — Venue, up 70 percent; Tucson, up 64 percent; Palisade, up 12 percent; and Ioniq, up 51 percent — that also posted record deliveries for the month.
Hyundai said it ended the month with 18,060 cars and light trucks, down from 21,420 at the close of December and 151,930 at the end of Jan. 2021.
Subaru of America's sales fell 4.8 percent.
Kia volume slid 5.5 percent to 42,488 mostly on sharply weaker Soul, Seltos and Forte deliveries.
Sales dropped for the fifth consecutive month at Mazda with January volume falling 17 percent to 21,079.
Volvo deliveries dropped 13 percent, and Genesis racked up its 14th straight gain with January sales rising 29 percent to 3,638 behind deliveries of the new GV70 crossover.
The rest of the industry reports U.S. sales quarterly.