GM retains crown as top-selling US automaker in 2023

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By Dan Sears

General Motors retained its crown as the top-selling automaker in the US in 2023, edging past rival Toyota Motor, as easing supply snags and sustained demand drive the industry to its best year since the pandemic.

The Detroit automaker shrugged off a hit from a costly auto strike to report 2023 US new vehicle sales of 2,594,698 units, up 14.1% from last year, while Toyota’s annual sales rose 6.6% to 2,248,477 vehicles.

Automakers are expected to have sold a total of 15,499,224 vehicles in the US in 2023, the highest since 2019, when the industry reported sales of 17,044,011 vehicles, according to figures from consultant Cox Automotive.

The resurgence in sales comes after companies ramped up their production to keep up with sustained demand for new vehicles in 2023, though some analysts warn that high interest rates will take a toll on demand this year.

“High vehicle prices and high interest rates remain the industry’s Grinch right now, and that trend will continue into next year,” Cox said.

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President Biden and GM CEO Mary Barra in 2022.
President Biden and GM CEO Mary Barra in 2022. REUTERS

In a sign that demand is easing, car dealers had to offer generous incentives and discounts in December to clear older inventory after two years of holding back on promotions.

“This is the third consecutive year in which US consumers spent more than half a trillion dollars buying new vehicles,” J.D. Power said in a report last month.

Electric vehicles also grabbed a bigger share of consumer wallets.

Toyota said on Wednesday sales of electrified vehicles rose 30.4% to 657,327 vehicles, making up 29.2% of its overall US sales.


UAW on strike sign
GM shrugged off a hit from a costly auto strike to report 2023 US new vehicle sales of 2,594,698 units, up 14.1% from last year REUTERS

GM sold 75,883 EVs – of which 62,045 were Bolts and 13,838 were Ultium platform EVs.

The Detroit automaker expects the robust demand to carry over into 2024 and forecast total industry sales of 16 million units for the year.

Shares of GM were down but cut losses after it posted full-year sales.

The company also said it would offer $7,500 incentives on its EVs that lost a US government tax credit this week.

Total US EV sales are expected to be about 8% of overall auto sales in 2023, with that number rising to around 10% this year, Cox added. But analysts say high interest rates are set to hurt EV demand as well.

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“Sales of EVs are likely to continue to improve, just not at the astronomical rate the industry saw in years past,” AutoForecast Solutions said in a report.

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