Akio Toyoda, grandson of Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda, is more than just a business executive. The 66-year-old president is a true fan, having been the driving force behind several hot cars like the Yaris, Supra, and Corolla in GR flavors. The 86 is alive and well while the Super Sport hypercar is alive (hopefully) still coming. At the same time, Akio Toyoda was a race car driver and took part in the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring several times.
When he’s not on the track or the green light sports car, he looks at the sales figures like any automaker president would. During a roundtable interview with reporters last week, Akio Toyoda made a rather interesting confession. After learning that Toyota sold General Motors last year in the United States, the chief honcho “did a little happy dance” in his office. He went on to say that “luckily, no one saw it.”
Indeed, Toyota shipped 2,332,262 units to be exact in 2021 when GM sold 2,218,228 units. Of course, 114,034 sales don’t usually represent a huge difference when looking at the sales charts of the two major players. However, beating GM at home is an impressive feat. This is especially true when you consider that the last time GM wasn’t #1 happened 90 years ago, way back in 1931.
When the figures were published in early 2022, GM spokesman Jim Cain said: Reuters said: “I would not rush if I [Toyota]and get the ‘We No. 1’.” How has it progressed so far this year? Toyota sold more than GM in the first quarter but the North American automaker bounced back in Q2. Both have been hit hard by parts shortages and have had to adjust production and build incomplete vehicles that waiting for missing components.
Talk with CNBC Earlier this year, Toyota’s senior vice president of North American automotive operations, Jack Hollis, said outperforming GM was not the company’s goal. He went on to mention it was unlikely to be a recurring situation: “Yes, we did surpass General Motors in sales. But to be clear, that’s not our goal, nor do we see it as sustainable.”