One of the significant auto trends of our time involves the continual slump in auto sales. Unlike times past when consumers held off purchasing, the drop has little to do with demand. Instead, supply chain issues are presenting a significant drain on the market, including the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage.
Manufacturers, though, are figuring out ways to bring the product to the market. For instance, last year GM announced that heated seats and heated steering wheels would be dropped from some models. Each feature requires a chip, therefore reallocating inventory for more essential equipment makes sense.
We are also seeing manufacturers prioritizing some models over others. While we do not have an accurate breakdown of what is being built over what is not, we are certain that models with fatter profit lines are available. On other hand, sales of the Ford F-Series fell by 22.3-percent last month, or more than double the 10.5-percent drop the company experienced overall. On the flip side, Ford sold 3,805 units of its Mustang Mach-E EV and rolled out the first copies of its all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck. Thus, electrics are increasingly becoming a larger slice of the auto trends pie for the Blue Oval.
April 2022 Auto Trends
We examined the sales statistics for the month, much of that is excruciatingly boring for those with no interest in it. At the same time, we found the following auto trends interesting, especially considering today’s volatile market.
Mazda is Strong in the Compact SUV Market
We know Mazda has a pair of strong models in the compact SUV market, but we were not aware of how well those vehicles sold. The Mazda CX-5 (16,404) and the Mazda CX-50 (1,700), combined (18,104) to outsell the Honda CR-V (18,000) last month. GM, Stellantis, and Nissan do not report monthly sales, but it is safe to say that Mazda is one of the most significant players in the segment. Mazda also registered one of the smallest drops (3.3%) among all automakers. Somehow, the company had access to most of the chips it needed.
Ford is Powerful in Small SUVs
The Ford Motor Company may not have the best-selling SUV model, but its presence in the market is formidable. For example, the Ford Escape (15,502) and the Ford Bronco Sport (12,928) are based on the same compact utility vehicle platform and combined delivered 28,430 units. That is just behind the segment-leading Toyota RAV4 (33,610 units). Add in the midsize Bronco SUV (13,113) and Ford’s presence is powerful.
Hyundai, Kia Battle it Out
The Hyundai Motor Company includes the Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands. The first two brands duke it out for mainstream buyers, although the two are rarely compared directly. At least not in corporate marketing. As for Genesis, it is the luxury brand that broke off from Hyundai in 2017.
The two mainstays recently released electric vehicles on a shared platform. For April, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 (2,677) edged out the Kia EV6 (2,632) for sales leadership. Both models are new, have been on sale for a few months, and stand to help their respective brands establish a solid footing in the EV arena.
End of the Line
Several models are near the end of the line or were discontinued, but still registering sales. The Mazda 6, a midsize model, was dropped after the 2021 model year. Still, there were seven “6” models somewhere that sold last month. We also saw the end for the venerable Toyota Land Cruiser. While still available overseas, it is kaput from the U.S. market. In April, six units were sold.
Acura also sold 21 copies of its NSX sports car, up from 12 year-over-year. That model is on its way out as is the RLX, which saw just a single unit drive away from a dealer’s lot.
Perhaps the most curious sale was for the Lexus GS. That midsize sedan was last offered in the 2022 model year. In April, someone purchased one that perhaps closes the book on this model forever.
2022 Auto Trends: Chip Shortage Status
Earlier reports that the chip shortage would soon come to an end seem like wishful thinking. Intel’s CEO, Pat Gelsinger, told The Street this week that he now forecasts that the challenge will “drift into 2024.” Last month, Newsweek reported that CEOs from BMW and Ford both see the shortage lasting well into 2023.
In any case, consumers should expect persistently small inventories, limited choices, and elevated prices. Waiting out the market may mean keeping an aged vehicle an additional two years and working with a mechanic to ensure that your current ride remains roadworthy.
LaReau, J. L. (2021, November 15). Detroit dealers react to GM taking away heated seats and steering wheels. https://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/general-motors/2021/11/15/detroit-dealers-chip-shortage-heated-seats/8626153002/
Bennett, C. (2022, May 2). Intel’s Forecast on the Chip Shortage Has Changed (You Won’t Like It). TheStreet. https://www.thestreet.com/technology/intel-ceo-chip-shortage
McCandless, J. (2022, April 21). Chip Shortage Will Continue Into 2023, Say Analysts and Executives. Newsweek. https://www.newsweek.com/chip-shortage-will-continue-2023-say-analysts-executives-1699733
Mazda CX-5 image copyright Stumpwater Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved.
Auto trends statistical information from the respective manufacturers and GoodCarBadCar.net.