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Opinion – Time Machines: GM is overtaken by Toyota and loses post it occupied 90 years ago in the US


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General Motors lost the first place in sales in the United States in 2021. The automaker was surpassed by the Japanese Toyota, which had approximately 2.3 million units sold last year – 114,000 more than the North American competitor.

It’s a historic achievement: together, the brands that belong to GM have been maintaining market leadership in their host country since 1931, according to the Automotive News agency. Sales figures were released by manufacturers.

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The result is mainly due to the scarcity of semiconductors. The American company was one of the most affected by the problem, which interrupted its production lines around the world. In Brazil, the Gravataí (RS) plant, which produces the Onix compact, was idle for around six months throughout 2021.

While Toyota maintained some regularity over the past year, GM’s global rally didn’t come until the last quarter.

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The resumption made the shares of the American automaker rise 6% on Tuesday (4), after disclosing that their problems with semiconductors are decreasing.

But when recovery came, the damage had already been done. The Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup, which is GM’s best-selling model in the US, saw a 10.8% drop in sales. This represents about 55,000 fewer vehicles throughout 2021.

Toyota, on the other hand, maintained a more balanced mix last year, which resulted in a 10% growth in the American market compared to 2020.

The Japanese brand arrived on the American market at the end of the 1950s. The first cars were the Toyopet Crown sedan and the jeep Land Cruiser, which was called Bandeirante in the Brazilian market.

Imports gained volume in 1965 with the Corona model. Three years later came Corolla, and by the end of the 1970s, the carmaker had become the largest foreign manufacturer on American soil.

Toyota production in the US began in 1986. The brand manufactured the FX16 hatchback in California through a joint venture with General Motors.


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