Automobile

Toyota edges GM in Q2; Hyundai, Kia jump on light trucks

Toyota Motor, Hyundai, Kia and Genesis continued to rack up U.S. sales gains in June while largely shrugging off supply constraints and parts shortages that have hobbled other automakers, capping a strong second quarter as the industry steadily rebounds from the pandemic.

The leanest inventories in the industry didn’t prevent Toyota from posting a 40 percent gain for the month, with volume advancing 42 percent at the Toyota division and 29 percent at Lexus. The company received a big boost from car sales, up 57 percent, while light-truck demand advanced 33 percent.

General Motors’ second-quarter deliveries tallied 688,236, a gain of 40 percent, with volume rising 31 percent at Chevrolet, 50 percent at GMC, 86 percent at Buick and 55 percent at Cadillac. Still, Toyota Motor topped GM, the market leader for decades, in the second quarter by 5,116 cars and light trucks, though GM still leads year to date.

“The U.S. economy is accelerating, consumer spending is robust and jobs are plentiful,” Elaine Buckberg, GM’s chief economist said in a statement. “Consumer demand for vehicles is also strong, but constrained by very tight inventories. We expect continued high demand in the second half of this year and into 2022.”

GM, which has idled multiple North American assembly plants this year because of a chip shortage, said it ended June with 211,974 cars and light trucks in inventory, down 37 percent from 334,628 at the end of the first quarter.

At Nissan Motor, deliveries rose 68 percent in the second quarter behind a 74 percent gain at the Nissan division. Volume increased 11 percent at Infiniti. Nissan Motor received a bigger lift from car demand — up 76 percent — compared to light trucks, up 64 percent, during the latest three-month period.

June sales rose 45 percent to a monthly record of 72,465 at Hyundai, while deliveries jumped 43 percent to a June high of 68,486 at Kia. At Genesis, sales advanced 184 percent.

The three Hyundai Motor Group brands are benefiting from new and redesigned crossovers and other light trucks. At Kia, light trucks accounted for 64 percent of all U.S. sales in the first half while crossovers now represent 55 percent of Genesis volume.

Hyundai’s retail volume rose 36 percent to a June record of 66,765. The company said it ended the month with 67,992 cars and light trucks in dealer inventory, down 25 percent from 91,249 at the start of the month.

Randy Parker, senior vice president for national sales at Hyundai Motor America, said close collaboration with dealers and manufacturing and supply chain partners has allowed the company to “successfully manage extraordinary consumer demand.”

Second-quarter volume rose 73 percent at Mazda and 106 percent at Mitsubishi.

Most other automakers will report June or second-quarter U.S. sales tallies later Thursday. Ford Motor Co. will release June results on Friday, followed by second-quarter deliveries from Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar Land Rover later in the month.

Analysts at J.D. Power, LMC, Cox Automotive and TrueCar say U.S. light-vehicle sales are forecast to rise 16 percent to 20 percent or more in June from the year ago period, when the pandemic was still hobbling economic activity, though the sales pace is expected to cool considerably from early and mid-spring on severe inventory shortages.

The rate of industry sales outpaced the replacement rate in March, April and May, and possibly June, Cox Automotive estimates. While the economy continues to recover from the pandemic, analysts say tailwinds from the latest round of government stimulus spending will slowly fade after peaking in the spring.

Many dealers say showroom traffic slowed in the closing days of June as new car and light-truck supplies continued to dwindle.

Even amid slumping stockpiles, some automakers continued to actively market new cars and light trucks last month — a sign the severe semiconductor shortage, among other supply disruptions, has affected automakers to different degrees.

Hyundai pitched lease deals on the redesigned Tucson and Chevrolet dangled similar offers on the Equinox. Toyota advertised the RAV4 and Highlander crossovers, despite tight supplies in some markets. On the other hand, Ford Motor Co., hampered by falling stockpiles of key models such as the F-Series pickup, continued to offer $1,000 off last month on new-vehicle orders that will be delivered at a later date.

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