U.S. auto sales in May: Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Kia and Subaru post double-digit declines for the third consecutive month

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U.S. light-vehicle sales fell double digits again in May at Toyota Motor Corp., Hyundai and Kia as strangled supply chains continue to hit automakers, leaving showrooms and almost empty lots of new cars and light trucks.

Toyota, with one of the leanest new car and light truck inventories in the industry, said volume slipped 27% to 175,990 last month, with deliveries down 27% in the Toyota and Lexus divisions. This is the tenth consecutive monthly decline for the Toyota brand and the fourth consecutive decline for Lexus.

All but one of Toyota’s top sellers, the RAV4, posted lower volume in May: Corolla, down 18%; Camry, down 34%; Venza, excluding 68%; 4Runner, down 1.5%; Highlander, down 46% and Tacoma, down 31%.

U.S. sales of the Toyota RAV4, the top-selling compact crossover in 2021, rose 9.5%. Lexus’ best-selling RX crossover recorded sales of 8,749, down 2.3%.

Honda Motor Co. deliveries fell 57% to 75,491 last month with volume 64% at Acura and 57% at Honda. The best-selling Honda brand all posted a significant drop in sales: Accord, down 58%; Civic, down 77%; CR-V, down 59%; Pilot, down 47% and HR-V, down 26%.

A drop in production caused by parts shortages left Honda’s U.S. inventories at historic lows. The automaker started the year with just 20,000 Honda and Acura vehicles in stock at dealerships, down from 300,000 in 2021.

“We are experiencing record turnover rates of over 80% for the Honda brand, with nearly every unit a dealership touches in a month already sold,” a spokesperson said Wednesday. “More than half of our Civics and CR-Vs are sold before they even reach a dealer’s lot. Our sales numbers don’t reflect the true demand for our products.”

Hyundai’s deliveries last month fell 34% to 59,432, all at retail, the company said Wednesday. This is Hyundai’s biggest drop since the start of the pandemic, when sales fell 39% in April 2020 and 43% in March 2020.

Hyundai ended May with 18,641 vehicles in dealership inventory, down from 15,809 at the end of April but down from 91,249 at the end of May 2021, a spokesperson said. The company recorded zero fleet shipments for the fifth straight month as it prioritizes more profitable retail operations.

“There continues to be extraordinary consumer demand for Hyundai vehicles, with dealerships selling every vehicle they obtain,” Randy Parker, senior vice president of national sales at Hyundai Motor America, said in a statement. “We expect demand to remain strong and inventory levels to improve later in 2022.”

Kia’s May sales fell 28% to 57,941 on sharply lower car deliveries, as well as a drop in key crossovers such as the Sorento, Seltos, Sportage and Telluride.

Kia said its dealer inventory continued to hover around 9,000 cars and crossovers at the end of May, 30,000 below May 2021 levels.

Subaru’s May sales fell 25% to 42,526, extending its losing streak to 12 straight months.

Mazda’s volume slipped 64%, the second monthly decline. At Genesis, sales rose 18% to a record 4,400 in May thanks to higher sales of G70 and GV70.

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