Title: US Automakers Experience Slowing Sales Growth in Q4 2023
Subtitle: General Motors and Stellantis among automakers affected by strikes and waning demand
Detroit, MI – The fourth quarter of 2023 saw decelerating sales growth for major automakers in the United States, as General Motors Co., Stellantis NV, and others reported less than stellar results. GM’s deliveries increased by a mere 1%, rebounding from United Auto Workers (UAW) strikes that had disrupted production at four assembly plants. Stellantis witnessed a 1% decline in sales throughout the year, hampered by production losses due to similar UAW walkouts.
Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. also experienced sluggish growth in the final months of the year, with Kia America’s sales dipping in December. Industry analysts attribute these declining sales figures to a potential fatigue in pent-up demand caused by the pandemic. Moreover, consumers are increasingly deterred by high interest rates on car loans and average prices of vehicles hovering around $48,000, deterring potential buyers.
However, it wasn’t all bad news as Toyota Motor Corp. bucked the trend with its volume remaining strong. Toyota’s deliveries surged by more than 15% in the last quarter of 2023, largely driven by the popularity of their hybrid-electric vehicles. Hyundai Motor Co. also celebrated a record-breaking period, as sales gained 5% in the same period.
Toyota attributed its impressive performance to the increased availability of their products in the second half of the year, as supply-chain and logistical obstacles eased. Additionally, successful product launches contributed to Toyota’s positive momentum.
On the other hand, GM faced significant challenges during the last quarter, with its sales rising by a mere 0.3%. Production cuts resulting from strikes at four plants hampered the company’s overall production of its top-selling vehicles. Moreover, GM struggled with meeting its electric vehicle delivery targets for the year, highlighting continuing obstacles in EV production.
Stellantis experienced a decline in sales for its Chrysler and Dodge brands, offset by smaller gains made by the Jeep and Ram brands. Meanwhile, Nissan observed a modest sales gain of 5.6% in the fourth quarter, while Kia America saw a slight dip in sales during the same period. Honda’s US deliveries surged in December, but overall sales growth for the fourth quarter fell slightly below the automaker’s full-year pace.
Hyundai Motor Co.’s eponymous brand emerged as the frontrunner, witnessing the most impressive sales growth for the quarter. The introduction of the large Palisade SUV and Ioniq 5 EV contributed to an almost doubling of deliveries, securing Hyundai’s successful position in the market.
Looking ahead, industry experts predict that the challenges witnessed in the past year will persist, leading to meager growth in US auto sales in 2024, projected to be less than 2%. Additionally, automakers are now focusing on selling fewer cars at higher price points, indicating a shift towards profitability over market penetration.
Despite these hurdles, Toyota executives remain optimistic, expecting annualized sales to reach 16 million units in 2024. They anticipate improved vehicle availability and increased incentive spending by other brands to boost overall demand in the industry.
As the auto industry braces itself for another year of uncertainties, car buyers are increasingly expressing concerns about affordability. Sticker price shock and financing concerns have led many consumers to downsize or opt for late-model used cars, further shaping the dynamics of the market.
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