Ugly charts of auto sales: GM, Toyota, Ford. Stellantis, oh my god, got crushed by Hyundai-Kia’s record sales. Tesla has arrived

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Automakers screwed the market for decades by overcharging and raising prices. Now they pay a depressing price for it.

By Wolf Richter for Wolf Street.

Total new vehicles delivered to retail customers and fleets (dominated by rental fleets) in the US rose 12.4% to 15.46 million vehicles from a disappointing level a year earlier.

The two best years were 2000 and 2016, with 17.4 million and 17.5 million vehicles sold. In 2023, sales were about 11% below the 2000 high and 11.6% below the 2016 high. And compared to 1986, sales were down 3.7%, and compared to 1985, sales were flat. it was almost four decades First! Over the same period, the US population has increased by 40%!

The market is deteriorating due to rising prices and rising prices.

Turns out, after decades of jacking up prices and going upscale to maximize revenues and profits, automakers have created a market in America where the average American can no longer afford a new vehicle, and they turn to used vehicles. Buying – Financially, a good strategy.

Automakers have driven the U.S. market to the point where new vehicle sales are flat in the best years and falling in the worst years.

Full-size pickup trucks are a great example of price increases and moving up a level. There are only four automakers that sell full-size pickup trucks in large quantities in the US: GM, Ford, Stellantis, and Toyota. Nissan will discontinue its Titan in 2024 due to low sales. Two new players are now entering the market, still in small numbers, Rivian and Tesla.

So, for now, there are four companies selling massive amounts of full-size trucks, huge price increases year over year, and ridiculous profit margins, which is evidence of oligopolistic pricing behavior.

Here at Wolf Street we have developed our own new Vehicle Value Index based on the best-selling truck, the Ford F-150, and the best-selling car, the Toyota Camry. We discussed this and our hypothesis about pickup truck oligopoly here. And for your entertainment, here’s the chart – since 1990, the F-150 XLT’s MSRP has increased 267%, including a 39.4% increase from 2020:

average transaction value Including all incentives, rebates and addendum stickers, there was a 36% increase during the pandemic from $34,900 in December 2019 to an absurd $47,300 in December 2022, according to J.D. Power data.

Then in 2023, inventory came back on dealer lots, and rebates and incentives piled on, and most of the disgusting addendum stickers disappeared (if you see an addendum sticker, “Just Say No”), and by December 2023, the average The trading price fell 2.7% to a still absurd $46,055:

The largest automaker in America.

General Motors, #1: Sales of all its brands in the US increased by 14.1% to 2.59 million vehicles in 2023. But it was down 16% from its recent peak in 2015.

Sales of GM’s older EVs the Bolt and Bolt EUV are projected to increase 62.8% to 62,045 vehicles in 2023. After price reductions by GM, and after federal tax credits, the base Bolt could be purchased for just over $20,000. And there is demand for good vehicles in this price category. But 2023 was their swan song, GM killed them at the end of the year.

GM is now launching several other EV models based on its new Ultium platform, but sales have just begun and are very low.

GM’s sales had declined every four years before the pandemic. Then semiconductor shortages depleted its inventory. But in 2023, the inventory is back to normal. You can draw a mental line from 2015 to 2019 and then extend that line, and it comes out right above 2023, creating an ugly trend.

Toyota, #2: Combined sales of the Toyota and Lexus brands in the US rise 6.6% to 2.25 million vehicles in 2023. But it was down 10% from its recent peak in 2015.

Toyota has no EVs to speak of. A year ago, some lights went on and Toyota’s longtime anti-EV CEO Akio Toyoda was ousted and replaced by a new guy, Lexus boss Koji Sato, with Toyota now trying to build an EV strategy. Has been.

The trend in this chart — that line from 2015 to 2019 and extending to 2023 — looks just as ugly as GM’s:

Ford, #3: After seven consecutive years of decline, combined sales of its Ford and Lincoln brands are set to rise 7.1% to 1.996 million vehicles (okay, 2.0 million) in 2023. From the recent peak in 2015, sales have declined 23%.

EV sales rose 17.9% to 72,608. This includes a 54.7% increase in F-150 Lightning sales to 24,165 trucks. Small startup Rivian has overtaken Ford’s electric truck sales. That’s how good Ford is at selling EVs as it is now busy fending off an anti-EV revolt by its dealers.

Interestingly, in Q4, sales of ICE vehicles and hybrids declined 0.4% year-on-year, while EV sales grew 27.5%. Total sales increased 0.8% in Q4 year-on-year due to increased EV sales. Without EVs, total sales would have declined 0.3% year-over-year.

Ugly, ugly, ugly. I’m not even sure where to draw the mental attitude line. But hey, Ford is blowing billions of dollars on share buybacks:

Hyundai-Kia, #4, Hyundai is the parent company of Kia, Hyundai owns a 33.9% stake in Kia, and Kia owns stakes in Hyundai’s subsidiaries, and they share vehicle platforms. So for our purposes here, we look at this pair as one automaker with different brands.

And they are moving. It overtook FCA US (Stelantis) in sales for the first time in 2023. Year-on-year, sales increased 11.7% to a new record of 1.58 million vehicles (Hyundai 801,195 and Kia 782,451).

EV sales: Hyundai’s Ioniq EV sales surged 76% to 46,917 vehicles. It also sells an electric version of its Kona crossover, but does not break out sales of the electric version (all Kona sales totaled 79,116). Kia’s EV sales fell 2% to 19,997 vehicles.

Stellantis #5: Hey dear, FCA US sales fall 1.3% to 1.53 million vehicles in 2023. From the recent peak in 2015, sales have declined 33%. FCA US was overtaken by Hyundai-Kia for the first time since being overtaken by Toyota years ago.

It’s not mass producing any battery-electric EVs, rather it’s mass production announcements of them. It said that the first EV models are expected to appear by the end of 2024.

In terms of ugliness, the trend in this chart is in a league of its own, speaking of an existential crisis:

The three big American automakers? GM, Ford and Stellantis are, or remain, the Big Three American automakers. Toyota is #2 in the US, and it makes vehicles in the US, but it is a Japanese company, so a foreign automaker. Hyundai-Kia is fourth in the US and ahead of Stellantis, but it is a foreign duo, although they do manufacture cars in the US. Stellantis is a European company that bought FCA US, but for whatever reason, we still consider FCA US an American automaker, even though FCA US imports a lot of vehicles. So the lines are blurring.

Now we have a fourth US automaker that isn’t that big yet in terms of US sales, but is getting bigger quickly: Tesla. All of its vehicles sold in the US are made in the US – unlike other US automakers. So now, what do we need to know about the “big four American automakers?” Need to talk about? Or the big three, with Tesla in and foreign automaker Stellantis out?

Tesla Does not disclose US sales. It only discloses global sales. But there is registration data. Per registrations, the Model Y has become the #2 best-selling vehicle in the US behind the F-series trucks. But registration data lagged behind. And we have them only till Q3 2023.

Tesla’s global deliveries in Q4 increased 11% from the previous quarter and 20% year-over-year. Over the course of the year, they increased by 38%. We can estimate Q4 registrations in the US based on some modest growth from Q3, and that’s what we did here, not super-precise, but close enough?

We added modest growth over the first three quarters of 2023 (registration data via and reached about 680,000, give or take. So it is much smaller than other American automakers. This is less than half of Stellantis’s fallen sales.

But Tesla sales are going in the right direction, having grown from practically nowhere a few years ago. And so I include them here for the first time in this annual discussion. Tesla has arrived.

Honda (American Honda Motor Co.) sales surged 33% from levels that collapsed in 2022 when semiconductor shortages depleted its inventory. Sales are still down 20% compared to the 2017 peak.

Like Toyota, it dropped the ball completely on EVs. And for 2024, instead of developing its own EV from the ground up, it will introduce an EV (Prologue) based on GM’s new Ultium platform, coming soon to a dealer near you.

Nissan: Sales of its brands Nissan and Infiniti combined rose 23% to 898,796, but are still 44% below the 2017 peak. Existence is in danger. Ugly, ugly, ugly:

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