An American flag flutters at a Chevrolet dealer on August 4, 2021 in Glendale, California. Despite the computer chip shortage, General Motors (GM) reported net profit of $2.8 billion in the second quarter.
Mario Tama | Getty Images
Detroit – ‘General Engines’ Third-quarter US auto sales fell more than 30% from a year ago as persistent shortages of semiconductor chips halted auto production and slashed dealer stockpiles.
The Detroit automaker said Friday that it sold about 447,000 vehicles from July to September, down 32.8% from a year earlier when sales volumes fell due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decline was slightly wider than industry analysts’ expectations of 28.9% and 31.5%.
The chip shortage has caused General Motors to shut down its plants for weeks, if not months, and is also partly producing highly sought-after vehicles such as full-size pickup trucks to finish when chips are available.
GM warned investors last month that wholesale volumes in North America will be down about 200,000 units in the second half of 2021 compared to the first six months of the year. It continues to maintain its financial guidance for the year, including adjusted earnings between $11.5 billion and $13.5 billion, or $5.40 to $6.40 per share.
Every automaker brand reported double-digit sales losses in the third quarter, led by a 36.1% decline for Chevrolet.
GM plans to make up for some lost volume in the fourth quarter, with Steve Carlisle, GM’s president for North America, saying Friday that chip supply constraints are improving.
“Semiconductor supply disruptions that impacted wholesale sales and customer delivery in the third quarter are improving,” he said in a statement. “As we look into the fourth quarter, the steady flow of in-plant vehicles will continue to be released to dealers, we resume production at major crossover plants, and we look forward to a more stable operating environment through the fall.”
GM reported that its total sales through September were at about 1.8 million units a year ago. GM’s year-over-year sales are up from Chevrolet, which is down 5.6%, Buick is up 27.4%, GMC is up 8%, and Cadillac is up 10.8%, according to GM.
General Motors is among the first major automakers to report third-quarter sales on Friday. In general, analysts estimate automakers Sold less than 3.4 million cars, down between 13% and 14% over the same period last year.