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Key Carmakers Post Strong Q4, Full-Year Sales Despite Challenges

by | January 3, 2024

GM, Toyota and Honda all enjoyed strong finishes at the end of the year to help them secure improved year-over-year results for the whole of 2023.

Inventory levels improved during the fourth quarter so buyers had more options to choose from.

Automakers overcame a series of hurdles, including strikes, high interest rates and consumer resistance to high prices, to post strong sales at end of the year and for all of 2023. General Motors, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Subaru and Hyundai all demonstrated market power during a tumultuous year.

With prices starting to fall, automakers across the board also are expressing optimism about sales in 2024 while still basking in the glow of the results of 2023, including GM.

The company reported delivering 2.6 million vehicles in the U.S. in 2023 as sales increased 14% year-over-year while dropping by less than 1% in the fourth quarter when part of the company’s production was shut down by a strike by the United Auto Workers.

GM also claimed it led the industry in total sales and was the topselling manufacturer of trucks, full-size pickups, full-size SUVs, affordable SUVs and fleet vehicles. GM also boosted its EV sales by 93% to more than 75,000.

“GM has tremendous momentum. We grew our market share in 2023, maintaining strong pricing and low incentives. We led the industry in trucks and had great success with our affordable SUVs like the Chevrolet Trax and Buick Envista, some of today’s hottest-selling vehicles,” said Marissa West, GM senior vice president and president, North America.

2024 GMC Sierra AT4X AEV Edition front 3-4 REL

GM said it sold massive numbers of pickups in 2023 — more than any other U.S. automaker.

“In 2024, we expect industry sales to remain strong and we’re excited about the opportunities ahead as we expand customer choice with new vehicles like the Chevrolet Equinox EV and Cadillac Escalade IQ,” she added.

Japanese makers enjoy solid year

Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) today reported year-end 2023 U.S. sales of 2,248,477 vehicles, an increase of 6.6%. The company reported U.S. fourth quarter 2023 sales of 619,661 vehicles, an jump of 15.4%, including a 23.5% rise for December.

“Toyota’s multi-pathway approach to electrification accelerated in 2023 with even more vehicle choices to meet our customer’s lifestyle and budget,” said Jack Hollis, executive vice president, Sales, TMNA.

“Our teams are busy preparing for an outstanding 2024 to bring 22 new, refreshed or special edition vehicles to showrooms, including sedans and more electrified options to satisfy strong customer demand,” Hollis added. “By the end of 2025, we plan to have an electrified option available for every Toyota and Lexus vehicle in the U.S.”

American Honda reported a 45.9 % increase in December and 31.3% increase for the full year. Acura sales increased by 21.3% in December and 31% for the full year. Honda brand sales increased 49.6% in December and 30.7% for all of 2023.

“We began 2023 optimistic for increased sales volumes, with our commitment to fun-to-drive cars, a refreshed light truck line-up and increasing hybrid-electric volumes. To have achieved a 33-percent increase over last year’s sales is an incredible testament to the strength of our products, dealer network and brands,” said Mamadou Diallo, senior vice president of Auto Sales at American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

2025 Subaru Forester front 3-4

Subaru saw sales increase for the 17th consecutive month in December.

“With more electrified goodness on the way with the Acura ZDX, Honda Prologue and Civic hybrid coming to market this year, and with strong inventory of both cars and trucks, we are in a great position to continue the sales momentum into 2024,” he said.

Subaru of America, Inc. reported 17 consecutive months of increased sales with 57,764 vehicles sold for December, a 1.8% increase compared with December 2022. Subaru ended calendar year 2023 with 632,086 vehicle sales, a 13.6% jump compared with calendar year 2022.

“Subaru and our retailers worked hard in 2023 to exceed customer expectations and achieve a full year of consecutive sales increases,” said Jeff Walters, president and chief operating officer of Subaru of America Inc.

Nissan Group reported total U.S. fourth quarter sales for 2023 of 201,747 units, an increase of 5.6% versus the prior year. It also reported total calendar year 2023 U.S. sales of 898,796 units, an increase of 23.2% percent compared to the prior year.

Of note, sales of Nissan’s smallest vehicles did especially well in the fourth quarter. Kicks compact crossover were up 71% year-over-year for the quarter, while sales of the Sentra sedan were up 41.9% year-over-year for the quarter.

Outlook is promising

Genesis Motor America set a monthly total sales record of 6,803 vehicles in December 2023, representing a 10% increase vs. December 2022 and 14 consecutive months of year-over-year sales growth for the brand. For the full year, Genesis brand in the United States increased 23% 69,175 vehicles.

Hyundai Motor America reported total December sales of 75,164 units, a 4% increase compared with December 2022 and the highest December sales total in company history. This is the 17th month in a row Hyundai has achieved increases in total sales.

“We finished 2023 with record-breaking total and retail sales and continued a trend initiated almost two years ago by consistently increasing monthly total sales in response to the surge in consumer demand for our products,” said Randy Parker, CEO, Hyundai Motor America.

Market outlook

“On the surface, car financing appears to be following the harsh trend line of the past few years, with average monthly payments and down payments reaching all-time highs for new vehicles,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ head of insights.

“But there are some very encouraging signs as we kick off 2024 when considering the makeup of deals in the latter half of the fourth quarter. Incentives are slowly coming back as inventory improves. Most consumers are looking for low APRs with longer loan terms, so the growth in those loans is helpful to lure consumers who have been sitting out due to adverse financing and pricing conditions,” according to Caldwell.



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