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Vehicle Sales: GM Retook Top Spot from Toyota in the U.S. in 2022

GM had led the market since 1931 before Toyota wrested away top spot in 2021 Automotive columnist: , Updated:

•    In the U.S., GM overtook Toyota in terms of sales in 2022, regaining its traditional top spot.

•    Toyota had outperformed GM in 2021, the first time the American auto giant had not led on its home turf since 1931.

•    The Chevrolet Silverado and Toyota RAV4 were the top-selling models for each of the automakers.

The beginning of each month is a time for receiving announcements from automakers regarding their sales totals. The beginning of each quarter is a time for receiving even more of those announcements, which invariably paint rosy pictures regarding how well models are performing. One guess what the beginning of each year brings? Yep, more announcements. 

That’s what communications and PR teams are there for, after all.

We don’t report on every one of those missives, but particularly in January, sometimes it's worth highlighting a few notable feats - or failures. 

In the U.S., General Motors (GM) is probably having a little celebration. The auto giant has overtaken Toyota for vehicles sales in its home market. This is notable of course because last year, after 90 years of leading the way, GM was outpaced by its big Japanese rival. 

The Japanese automaker’s reign was thus short-lived - but you can bet that Toyota has not said its last word. 

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2022 Toyota RAV4 SE Hybrid
Photo: Toyota
2022 Toyota RAV4 SE Hybrid

The battle for sales bragging rights between the two companies has been an interesting one. Recall that in January 2009, GM relinquished the number-one spot for vehicles sales worldwide to Toyota, marking the first time in 70 years it had not led the global hit parade. But, it could at least brag about still being number one in the United States. 

Then came 2021. But now, it has answered the challenge. We’ll see what the future holds. 

For numbers freaks, here are the totals: The American manufacturer sold 2,274,088 vehicles in the U.S. in 2022, 165,630 more than Toyota.

Three of GM's four brands saw increases; Buick was the only one to see its numbers decline, and by a significant 42 percent. Chevrolet sales were up 6 percent, GMC 7 percent and Cadillac 13 percent. 

Unsurprisingly, the Chevrolet Silverado was the most popular model in the GM stable, with 513,354 units sold. Other Chevrolet vehicles registering a strong year were the Equinox SUV (+28 percent to 212,072 units) and the Malibu sedan (+193 percent to 115,467 models). 

It’s worth noting that GM’s 2.5-percent growth in sales in 2022 came partly as a result of a gradual return to normal production operations, this in the wake of Covid-19 and supply chain problems. 

2022 Chevrolet Siverado
Photo: Chevrolet
2022 Chevrolet Siverado

Toyota, meanwhile, had to revise its forecasts downwards more than once during 2022 because of parts shortages. As a result, the Japanese automaker recorded a 9-percent drop in sales in the United States. Luxury brand Lexus saw its U.S. sales fall by 15 percent in 2022. 

The RAV4 SUV was Toyota's best-selling vehicle with 399,941 units, down 2 percent from 2021. Only the Tundra pickup saw sales growth, not surprising given that it was recently renewed for the first time in 15 years. 

In case you’re wondering, the Chevrolet Silverado failed to dethrone the Ford F-150 for the title of best-selling vehicle of the year. The latter sold 640,000 units in our neighbouring countries in 2022. It was also the best-selling model in Canada last year.