GM sales sharply decline in 3rd quarter due to part shortages

Sales drop for automaker after a shortage of parts lead to ‘historically low inventories’

The company logo shines off the nose of an unsold 2022 Bolt electric vehicle on display in front of a Chevrolet dealership Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (David Zalubowski, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Sales have dropped significantly for General Motors this quarter due to part shortages and “historically low inventories” caused by issues related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The automaker released its third quarter sales Friday, showing a sharp decline in vehicle sales compared to last year. Officials say 446,997 GM vehicles were sold in the U.S. in the third quarter of this year, which is 218,195 fewer sales than this time last year -- a nearly 33% decrease.

In a statement Friday, the company says the decline in sales was anticipated, and was primarily caused by semiconductor supply chain disruptions in Malaysia that are caused by the pandemic.

Manufacturing delays across the world amid the pandemic have led to a shortage of parts -- including microchips -- needed by automakers, causing several like GM and Ford Motor Company to slow down production, resulting in less inventory. In the beginning of September, GM closed nine of its 13 North American assembly plants for a few weeks due to the ongoing chip shortage.

Read: GM, Ford halt some production as chip shortage worsens

As of Friday, GM officials say that all full-size pickup and SUV, and all midsize pickup plants in North America are operating.

The company says that the third quarter was expected to brunt the worst of the impact of the parts and chip shortages, and sales should be on the rebound moving forward.

“GM has been agile and decisive in managing COVID-related impacts on our production and wholesale volumes and we appreciate the support of our dealers and the loyalty of our customers,” said Steve Carlisle, executive vice president and president of GM North America. “The semiconductor supply disruptions that impacted our third-quarter wholesale and customer deliveries are improving. As we look to the fourth quarter, a steady flow of vehicles held at plants will continue to be released to dealers, we are restarting production at key crossover and car plants, and we look forward to a more stable operating environment through the fall.”

Despite lower sales caused by smaller inventories, the demand for new cars is at a high in the U.S., and GM chief economist Elaine Buckberg says the company will “continue selling every vehicle we can produce with rapid turnover.”

More: Until 2023? Parts shortage will keep auto prices sky-high

Related: GM says production starts on replacement batteries for Bolts

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.