U.S. Auto Sales Fall; GM Retakes Sales Crown

Sales of passenger vehicles dropped in 2022, falling below 13.4 million annual units. GM was one of the few manufacturers to report an increase for the year, enabling this automaker to reclaim the top U.S. sales spot from Toyota. However, pandemic-induced supply issues remain, with analysts expecting a modest rebound in 2023. The current sales levels are well below the 17 million annual units last reached in 2019.

The sales race was close with GM selling 2,258,283 vehicles to Toyota’s 2,108,455. GM’s sales rose by 2.5 percent, while Toyota’s fell by 9.6 percent. Both companies faced the same battles over chip shortages, inventory issues, and rising material costs, but GM managed it better.

Tesla Model 3
This Model 3 sedan was one of four Tesla models that propelled sales in 2022.

Pickup Trucks Lead as Usual

The three top-selling vehicles of 2022 remain full-size pickup trucks. The Ford F Series finished on top with 653,957 units sold. In second place was the Chevrolet Silverado with 520,936 units sold. The Ram Pickup came in with 468,344 models sold. Sales of the Ram, however, fell by more than 17 percent, enabling Chevrolet to retake the second spot.

Ford may hold the top spot with the F Series, but GM sells more full-size trucks than Ford. Add in sales of the GMC Sierra (241,521) and GM sold 762,457 full-size pickups in 2022, beating Ford by more than 100,000 units.

Toyota claimed several best-selling models in 2022. The RAV4 remains the top-selling utility vehicle with 366,741 models sold. The Toyota Camry is the best-selling car with 295,201 units sold. The car market may be on the decline, but Toyota still sold more than 500,000 cars between the Camry and Corolla alone.

Honda, Nissan Hit Hard

Honda struggled mightily in 2022 as did Nissan. Honda’s sales fell 32.9 percent, while Nissan dropped 25.4 percent.

Honda’s largest losses were with its two most popular car models. Sales of the midsize Accord fell by 24 percent while the compact Civic dropped by nearly half. The Ridgeline truck was the only Honda model to post a sales increase for the year, rising by 3.1 percent over 2021.

Nissan’s car sales also took a big hit, but the midsize Altima sedan was a strong exception. Sales of the Altima rose by nearly 35 percent. Transactions of the Frontier pickup truck and Pathfinder utility vehicle also rose, while sales of the Rogue crossover and Versa subcompact car dropped the most.

Hyundai-Kia Hold Fast

Sales for Hyundai-Kia fell by just 1 percent with the Genesis brand continuing to enjoy double-digit growth. Both the Hyundai and Kia brands pushed past Nissan in total sales for 2022.

Most other manufacturers experienced double-digit losses in 2022. These include Volkswagen, Volvo, Stellantis, and Mazda. BMW, however, registered a modest drop, falling just 1.2 percent for the year.

Electric Vehicle Manufacturers

Although Tesla doesn’t separate U.S. sales from its global numbers, the company sold an estimated 491,000 vehicles in 2022, an increase of 44.1 percent. This automaker sold especially strong sales for its utility vehicles and is poised to finally deliver its first Cybertruck this year.

Rivian posted its first full year of sales in 2022, with approximately 14,000 vehicles sold. Lucid and Karma also registered their first sales of 2022; all three produce electric vehicles only.

Looking Ahead: 2023 Auto Sales

Forecasters expect sales to rise this year as chip shortages ease and pent-up demand bring more consumers to the market. Estimates range from 14.1 million by Cox Automotive to approximately 15 million by GM. In any case, sales should move up from the lowest levels seen since the Great Recession.


Gomes, N. (2023, January 4). GM reclaims U.S. auto sales crown from Toyota. Reuters.

(2022, February 1). 2022 US Vehicle Sales Figures By Model. GCBC.

(2023, January 4). American Honda Posts Positive Finish to Tough Sales Year as Increased Supply Helps Meet Strong Demand. American Honda.

(2023, January 4). Nissan Group reports 2022 fourth quarter and 2022 calendar year U.S. Sales. Nissan USA.

Wayland, M. (2023, January 6). Stock Markets, Business News, Financials, Earnings. 2022 U.S. auto sales are worst in more than a decade. CNBC.

See AlsoAmerica’s Medium-Size Pickup Trucks by Sales

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Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

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Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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