- The automotive industry is still trying to rebound from supply chain constraints hammering dealer inventory.
- General Motors fared particularly well, with its quarterly sales improving by 24.3% year-over-year.
- Other automakers, like Stellantis and Nissan, saw their sales drop over the past three months.
- There are truly some surprising figures in all this data — including cars you never thought would pick up by 8,000%.
We live in a weird, weird, weird world. Even nearly three years on from the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, as several industries try to rebound to some version of “normal”, to say things remain unpredictable is a massive understatement.
I’ve spent the past three months wondering if car sales were going to rebound. Is the industry going to turn a corner, or in the wake of high gas prices, record-braking inflation and perpetually strained supply chains, would sales charts keep ping-ponging back and forth through the end of the year? Well, it’s looking more like the latter, as the third quarter numbers roll out.
Painful prices and rising interest rates continue to vex the everyday car buyer. The semiconductor shortage also continues, as manufacturers like Ford sit on thousands of unfinished vehicles, with no quick end in sight. Still, several car companies (or, more specifically, their dealer franchises) managed to turn things around between early July and late September.
Now that we can take a look at quarterly figures — several firms, including two of the Big Three, no longer report monthly sales — we can dig into trends and some of the more surprising results.
Q3 2022 sales data, by brand
|Brand||Q3 2022 Sales||Q3 2021 Sales||Quarter-over-Quarter (’22 vs. ’21) Change|
Zooming in on the past quarter
As of October 3, some automakers have not yet reported their sales figures. We’ll come back and update as often as we can until the brand sales figures are complete. Still, zooming out to a brand level shows some positive movement. That’s true even as automakers face parts shortages and transportation issues just getting completed vehicles to dealers.
Most American car brands gained significant ground from Q3 2021. Ford sales improved by 15.9%, notably carried by the Bronco, Mustang Mach-E and the Maverick pickup. GM brands also gained ground, with the exception of Buick. In the Stellantis stable, Chrysler and Dodge both gained ground as well, though the overall company sales chart showed a dropoff due to weaker Jeep, Alfa Romeo and Fiat figures.
Other automakers like Honda and Nissan, however, have still dropped by double digits.
Combing through the data, though, there is one peculiar trend, as noted by the following:
- Chevrolet Bolt/Bolt EUV: 17,511 units; up 225.8%
- Chevrolet Malibu: 21,630 units; up 7,941%
- Dodge Durango: 19,104 units; up 32%
- Cadillac XT4: 5,838 units; up 929.6%
- Nissan Altima: 27,512 units; up 102.6%
Can you spot it? GM fared especially well as did some other automakers’ models, even when the brand as a whole dropped, due to fleet sales. GM touted an improvement in that area by 66% in the past quarter, “driven by significant sales gains to commercial customers.” That’s a fact worth keeping in mind when crunching all the numbers, although the General did gain ground across nearly its entire lineup, with the exception of Buick (down 27.4% over Q3 2021).