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First for Toyota: Plano-based automaker becomes top U.S. company for first time since 1930s

For the calendar year 2021, Toyota Motor North America reported U.S. sales of 2.33 million vehicles.
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

PLANO, Texas — For the first time in nearly 100 years, Toyota sold more vehicles in a year in America than General Motors or any other car company, based on a report of year-end 2021 sales released Tuesday.

General Motors had remained the U.S. leader since it supplanted Ford in the early 1930s. But now Toyota, which has its North American headquarters in Plano, is not only the No. 1 automaker based on sales in America but also the number one seller of electric-powered vehicles for the 22nd consecutive year.

Sales for electric-powered vehicles make up one quarter of Toyota Motor North America's 2021 sales.

Ford is expected to come in third behind Toyota and General Motors when it released its sales report this week.

For the calendar year 2021, Toyota Motor North America reported U.S. sales of 2.3 million vehicles. That is an increase from 2020 of 10.4% on a volume basis and an increase of 11.5% on a demand signal repository basis, which is a database that calculates sales data at the point of a sale.

General Motors reported it sold 2.2 million vehicles in the U.S. for the calendar year 2021.

Toyota reported it is also projected to sell 9.3 million vehicles worldwide for the calendar year 2021.

Including Toyota, American automakers struggled to make and sell cars in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shortages it caused, specifically computer chips.

Last September, U.S. new vehicle sales dropped about 26% in large part because of these chip shortages and other disruptions with car parts.

Toyota provided this statement to WFAA:

"Toyota is grateful to our loyal customers for putting their safety and trust in Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Being number one is never a focus or priority. The company’s focus has always been - and will continue to be - on being the best brand in terms of safety and quality in customers’ minds. And as part of our continuous improvement philosophy, we are always finding better ways of doing things, and ultimately make better products customers love and trust. Toyota has great products customers love, including an industry-leading 18 Toyota and Lexus electrified powered vehicles on the market (hybrids, EVs, fuel cells)."

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Credit: Toyota
View of the courtyard from the lobby at Toyota's Plano headquarters.

In 2007, Toyota passed General Motors as the top leader in global sales, a title General Motors had held for 76 years. The global race is now considered to be between Toyota and Volkswagen.

“Despite a second consecutive year of challenges, (Toyota Motor North America) focused on delivering an exceptional customer experience, and we remain optimistic as our electrification strategy further evolves,” senior vice president Jack Hollis said in a press release Tuesday. “Thanks to our phenomenal dealers and world-class purchasing and manufacturing teams, our inventory continues to improve and we’re preparing to introduce 21 all-new, refreshed or special edition vehicles in 2022.”