2021 was another roller coaster year for the industry.
While we entered 2021 wondering whether automakers would rebound from the havoc wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, there were plenty of bumps along the way this year, resulting in some truly historic shifts. For this first time in 90 years — since 1931 — General Motors is not the best-selling automaker in the U.S. This time around, that crown goes to Toyota.
COVID-19 disruptions continued to hamper sales in parts of 2021, but the global semiconductor shortage had a profound impact across multiple industries, and left automakers scrambling to keep production moving. Toyota weathered the storm better than most, as its North American plants kept cranking out vehicles with relatively few delays, though it too had to pause output at some points during the year.
On the whole, Toyota still managed to increase its 2021 sales in the U.S. by 10%, with dealers shifting some 2,332,262 passenger vehicles. GM, across all its brands, sold 2,218,228 vehicles — down 13% from 2020.
Among all the brands, Tesla also had a remarkable year, with deliveries nearly 1 million vehicles (globally, mind you — Tesla doesn’t disclose U.S.-specific sales). In fact, the company sold 911,208 Model 3s and Model Ys in 2021, more than doubling what the company managed the year before.
As automakers report their final monthly (or quarterly) figures for 2021, below is a look at how each brand fared, as well as which models were the best and worst sellers last year. Note 1/4/2022: Numbers are still rolling in and we’re updating the list accordingly, so check back often for the full report once it’s complete!
Full-Year 2021 Sales By Brand (January 1 through December 31):
|Brand||YTD 2021 Sales (Full Year)||YTD 2020 Sales (Full Year)||Year-over-Year Change (%)|
**Tesla does not disclose U.S.-specific sales — this figure represents sales in all markets.
Full-Year 2021 sales: Best-selling models by brand
|Brand||Best-selling car||Full-year 2021 Sales (Year-over-Year Change)|
|Alfa Romeo||Stelvio||10,539 (+2%)|
|Jeep||Grand Cherokee||209,876 (+26%)|
|Mitsubishi||Outlander Sport||34,216 (+19%)|
|Tesla||Model 3/Y||911,208 (+106%)|
Update 1/5/2022: Added Audi, BMW/Mini, Ford, Mazda, Porsche, Subaru, Stellantis and Volvo brand figures.
Update 1/6/2022: Added Genesis sales figures.
Update 1/7/2022: Added Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen sales figures.