Three of the biggest sellers of cars and trucks in the United States reported sales totals on Friday that reflected the intense squeeze that a global semiconductor shortage has put on auto production.
General Motors and Honda both reported significant declines in sales in the three months ending in September as chip shortages forced them to idle plants, leaving dealers with few vehicles to offer customers.
Toyota had a slight increase for the quarter, but its sales in September fell sharply after it was forced to slash global production because of the chip shortage and other disruptions to its parts supplies stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
At General Motors, sales were down 33 percent in the quarter. The automaker sold 446,997 vehicles, a sharp decline from the same period last year, when it sold 665,192 light trucks and cars. In the same quarter of 2019, G.M. sold 738,638 vehicles.
Honda’s sales were down 11 percent in the quarter, to 354,914 cars and trucks. But a decline in September of nearly 25 percent from the prior year showed the increasing squeeze on production.
Toyota said its sales in the quarter were about 1 percent higher than in the year earlier, at 566,005. But its sales for September were down 22 percent.
General Motors does not report monthly sales figures.
The global shortage of semiconductors has forced manufacturers to idle plants for weeks at a time, leaving dealers with tight stocks of cars and trucks for sale. At the end of September, G.M. had just 128,757 vehicles in dealer inventories, down from 211,974 at the end of June.
The company emphasized that customer demand was not the problem. “Underlying demand conditions remain strong, thanks to ample job openings, growing pent-up vehicle demand and excess savings accumulated by many households during the pandemic,” Elaine Buckberg, G.M.’s chief economist, said in a company statement.
And the company signaled that the chip supply situation was improving. “We look forward to a more stable operating environment through the fall,” said Steve Carlisle, the president of G.M. North America.
G.M. dealers had more than 334,000 vehicles in stock at the end of the first quarter. In years past, G.M. often kept about 800,000 vehicles in dealer inventories.
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