General Motors (GM) announced moves to cope with the global chip shortage hitting production across the industry as Q1 U.S. auto sales rose. Toyota (TM), Ford (F) and Volkswagen (VWAGY) also grew Q1 auto sales.
Here is how automakers performed against car info site Edmunds’ expectations. The results show Q1 volumes as well as sales growth or decline vs. a year ago.
Q1 auto sales estimate: 645,516; up 4.4%.
Results: GM delivered 642,250 vehicles, up 3.9%, helped by generally strong SUV and truck sales. Retail sales increased 19% and fleet sales fell 35%. All of its brands grew Q1 sales double digits except Chevy, which fell nearly 2%. Bolt EV sales increased 54% to 9,025, amid a refresh.
GM offered an update on the global semiconductor shortage.
“GM is building some vehicles without certain modules when necessary. They will be completed as soon as more semiconductors become available, which will help GM quickly meet strong expected customer demand during the year. GM also targets recovering lost car and crossover production where possible in the second half of the year,” it said in the Q1 sales release.
GM ended Q1 with 334,628 units in inventory, down 76,247 units from the end of Q4. To help dealers drive strong sales with lower inventory, GM announced the launch of new proprietary software and tools.
Q1 sales estimate: 594,283; up 19.9%.
Results: Toyota sold 603,066 vehicles, a 22% increase. March sales jumped 87%, lapping the pandemic hit to sales last March. In Q1, trucks and SUV sales leaped more than 30%, while passenger cars rose 6%. Toyota stock fell 1.6=2%.
Q1 auto sales estimate: 511,510; down 0.9%.
Results: Ford sold 521,334 vehicles, up 1%. Sales increased 5% for Ford trucks and 14% for SUVs, but dived 57% for passenger cars, as Ford ditches cars like the Fusion and Fiesta. Retail sales jumped 23%.
Notably in Q1, Ford sold 6,614 Mustang Mach-E electric crossover vehicles, up from just 3 in Q4.
Ford stock dipped 0.65%.
Volkswagen Q1 sales jumped 21% to 90,853 on robust SUV demand. That includes 474 units of the ID.4, which only went on sale in the U.S. in late March.
VW stock slid 2%.
For Q1, Cox projects U.S. auto sales of about 3.8 million vehicles, up about 9% from a year earlier, as a surge in retail demand offsets weak fleet demand. Prices are also up, and J.D. Power estimates consumer spending on new cars jumped 31% in Q1 to a record $177.9 billion.
For the month of March, analysts at J.D. Power and LMC Automotive forecast an annualized rate of 16.5 million vehicles, up from February’s 15.7 million pace and 11.4 million a year ago.
Due to the global chip shortage, Ford is cutting production at six North American plants, which make pickups, vans, SUVs and crossover, the company said late Wednesday. Ford also idled a factory that makes its bestselling F-150 trucks for several days last week.
In February, GM halted production at factories in Kansas, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and South Korea. It now expects some of those suspensions to continue through April. This week, the shortage forced GM to suspend production of midsize trucks in Missouri and it also will extend downtime by two weeks at a Michigan factory.
Both GM and Ford earlier warned that the chip shortage will cut 2021 profits by roughly $1 billion to $2.5 billion
Find Aparna Narayanan on Twitter at @IBD_Aparna
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