GM reclaims top-selling U.S. sales from Toyota after 90-year streak ends

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2024 Chevrolet Blazer Electric

2024 Chevrolet Blazer Electric
Image: General Motors

The General stole the number one spot from Toyota, Stellantis anticipates another year of slow production in Italy and Jaguar has a new plan for the future: to be Range Rover. All that and more in this Tuesday edition of The morning shift for July 5, 2022

1st Gear: GM is back on top — for now

Toyota sold more cars globally last year than any other automaker, overtaking Volkswagen for the title for the first time in five years. This too sold more than General Motors here in the United States – the first time anyone had done it since 1931 and the first time a foreign automaker had claimed the top spot. Now the second quarter 2022 numbers are in, and GM is back on top here at home, if only fair. Of Automotive News:

GM passed Toyota by more than 47,000 vehicles in the second quarter, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center. GM delivered 578,507 vehicles, while Toyota sold 531,105.

“Whatever we wholesale, [dealers] retail,” said Jack Hollis, Toyota Motor North America’s new executive vice president of sales. “At the moment, we don’t see any easing.”

Overall, U.S. auto sales fell 25% in the second quarter for the 10 automakers that released their report Friday, July 1 at press time. Ford Motor Co., Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar Land Rover had not yet announced its second-quarter sales and was expected to do so this week.

Toyota withstood supply chain headwinds better than anyone, which is probably why it’s fared better than GM over the whole of 2021. However, those pre-pandemic preparations could only last for so long, and Toyota is certainly not immune. Everyone goes through this:

Automaker parts supplies have fluctuated at different times during the chip crisis, said Stephanie Brinley, principal auto analyst at S&P Global Mobility. “The situation is so fluid right now that over a month you can tell one OEM had more chips than the other. But that’s too small to understand how far automakers are going through the process,” said she declared.

So, congratulations to GM, which has, for now anyway, resumed its familiar position as America’s sales leader. Unfortunately, the streak is over and there will be no asterisk in the record books due to the shortage of tokens.

2nd gear: Stellantis slows down in Italy

The entity that includes Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Lancia, Peugeot, Citroën, Opel and Vauxhall has seen year-on-year production declines in Italy for the past four years. 2022 is likely to be no different, according to its union staff. Of Reuters:

A global semiconductor supply crisis could cost Stellantis up to 220,000 vehicles this year in terms of lost production in Italy, said the FIM CISL union, adding that it would mark the fifth consecutive year of falling production. production in the country.

FIM CISL said in its periodic report on the group’s production in Italy that Stellantis produced 351,890 vehicles in the first half of this year, almost 14% less than in the same period last year, with the key plant in Melfi and the van manufacturing plant in Sevel. being the most affected sites.

Using first-half data and potential full-year production based on orders taken, the union estimates Stellantis could lose between 200,000 and 220,000 vehicles in 2022, said FIM union chief Ferdinando Uliano. ICFTU.

This, So, is a problem that predates the chip shortage, although it is certainly made worse because of it. “It’s as if one of the [Stellantis’] the big factories stopped for a year,” the union leader said.

Four out of ten cars made by Stellantis in Italy come from the Melfi plant, where the Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X are made. Melfi is also where Stellantis plans to produce four different battery-electric crossovers across its various brands in 2024, and where the company has had to stop production for a week in June because the flow of silicon had dried up so much.

3rd gear: Volkswagen now owns Europcar

Europcar, a car rental company you probably won’t encounter if you live in the US but will definitely recognize on your vacation, is now effectively owned by Volkswagen. The automaker will claim 67% of the company after leading a consortium to buy back nearly 94% of its shares, per Reuters.

Volkswagen briefly owned Europcar before, in the late 90s and early 2000s. This time it will leverage the brand to provide other opportunities for using the car, such as Automotive News Europe reported this morning:

VW will position Europcar at the center of its mobility services strategy, which will encompass traditional rental, car-sharing, subscriptions, leasing and autonomous vehicles after 2025.

Volkswagen Financial Services will host the new central platform, although all VW Group brands will have their own services tailored to their customers’ needs, the automaker said.

Christian Dahlheim, head of VW Financial Services, said the diversification of mobility services was a response to changing customer habits.

“People increasingly want to use their vehicles, not buy them, which is a trend we’ve seen over the past few decades,” he told a news conference on Tuesday.

VW is of course not the only manufacturer trying to win the subscription game. BMW and Mercedes-Benz have even have joined forces for similar reasons. The difference with Europcar is that Volkswagen is starting with an entity that can fall back on traditional car rental, which is already profitable, ensuring that it has the cash flow and the scale to experiment with different conditions:

Dahlheim said an expanded Europcar could succeed where others have failed because it is based on “fundamentally profitable” traditional car hire.

“If you look at the share and follow business in isolation, which is what we’ve done in the past, let’s be honest, no one has managed to do that in a cost-effective and reasonable way,” he said.

“The car rental business is a profitable business,” he added. “Share and subscription is basically renting a car, so we think if you have a fleet that you offer for hire, share or subscription, depending on customer needs, that’s a business model. successful.”

It may even one day expand to the United States, where I expect a focus group to recommend a name change.

4th gear: Nissan has another truck recall

About a week ago we learned that Nissan was recalling more than 360,000 Pathfinders worldwide, sold between 2013 and 2016, for faulty hood latches. Unfortunately, the brand’s other workhorses have their own recall, which surfaced late last week, but we haven’t been able to cover it. The Titan – who probably ain’t long for this world anyway – and Frontier have a roll-away problem, for consumer reports Last week:

Nissan is recalling more than 180,000 Frontier and Titan pickup trucks from model years 2020 through 2022 because the trucks could drive even with the shift lever in the Park position. So far, the automaker says it is aware of four injury reports.

The automaker is currently developing a solution to the problem, but in the meantime, Nissan says owners should use the parking brake every time they park their vehicle. Once a remedy is available, owners will be able to take their truck to a Nissan dealership for a free repair.

If you have a new or recent Nissan pickup, get into the habit of using this parking brake. If you don’t have one but still want one, maybe that’s another reason to search for an old borderrather than trying to catch one of those admittedly beautiful but old at heart new models just out. They say they never die.

5th gear: Jaguar has plans

For all of Jaguar’s troubles, I never thought we’d see a day when the brand seemed less forward-looking than Lotus. And yet, here we are. Supposedly, The next era of Jaguar will be defined by electric SUVs. In other words, it will become like its Range Rover sibling, but faster. Of Coach:

Jaguar is planning a trio of ‘breathtaking’ electric sports crossovers to break the £100,000 barrier and take the brand into Bentley territory from 2025.

The new range of three two-tier models promises to dramatically transform Jaguar into a manufacturer of 50,000-60,000 cars a year that are exclusive, electric and aluminium-rich.

These will be based on a single platform, named Panthera, will use closely related mechanical sets and will be manufactured in Solihull.

When he became CEO of Jaguar Land Rover two years ago, Thierry Bolloré made no secret of his intention to reflect the spirit – and the success – of Range Rover in a newly configured Jaguar range. Within months, Jaguar’s design team was heavily overhauled under Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s design chief who was elevated to group creative director, but since then details have been extremely sketchy.

It’s rightfully tragic how Jaguar had that great renaissance in the late and early 2010s where it really looked like it had finally found itself and escaped the doldrums of old luxury, only to waste again this enthusiasm. Whatever happens next, I just hope it looks as weird as the I Pacealthough a better name might help.

Back: Speaking of old luxury

It was on this day in 1990 that the original Lexus LS400 released for sale in the UK, according to 365 days of driving. It gives me an excuse to embed one of the dream Lexus TV commercials of the time. Why are all the old white men in suits standing on top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa? To provide a laborious visual metaphor, of course!

Neutral: The G[V]OATS

Renault Espace F1 amazing sound

Everybody’s still talking about that new Supervan, which looks awesome. But Espace F1 will always bes be the mover to beat, in my heart.

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