Toyota out-sold GM last year because they stockpiled chips

Reports on NPR and Marketplace attribute Toyota out-selling GM last year (first time they’ve been out-sold since 1930) to Toyota’s stockpiling of chips. So much for just-in-time.

Maybe that means Toyota has a sophisticated supply system and stockpile critical items that could stop production.

Don’t know where NPR gets its numbers but Toyota, VAG, and Hyundai/Kia have been outselling GM for a while.

Edit…in worldwide sales…

Toyota beat GM in US sales…was not specified in the original post.

The headline in a BBC news report

MG’s top car reign in the US ends

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It’s been the most popular car sold in the US for 90 years but its reign has come to an end. General Motors, or GM, has been in the top spot since 1931 but sales fell by 13% due to the shortage of semiconductors, which have been affecting the car industry during the pandemic. Japanese car company Toyota has taken pole position, selling more than 2.3 million vehicles last year - up 10%. But overall car buying remains depressed compared to their pre-pandemic levels, however GM’s vowed to bounce back, with spokesman Jim Cain saying: “I wouldn’t rush out if I were (Toyota) and get a ‘We’re No 1’ tattoo”.

Me thinks the GM got reversed ( MG ) . :wink:


I thought it was a WSJ article that I saw it in. I don’t think it was a “sophisticated supply system” but as we discussed before, some carried a good supply of 50 cent critical parts, and others carried the JIT inventory management to extreme and came up short. And GM wants to be a tech company instead of a car company. Of course JIT works great until it doesn’t or a storm, or other disruptions in supply no need to mention.

I don’t believe it. Toyota may have placed a greater financial influence on the suppliers to get the processers needed to maintain production.

Toyota Motors does not use “chips”, the computers and modules are assembled by their suppliers. This would be like Toyota stocking a warehouse full of rubber so Bridgestone can manufacture the tires.

I hope it means that they think more carefully than making a single rule and following it thoughtlessly. Aren’t all the parts critical? This isn’t a grocery store.


Now you are making a single rule for criticality. I’m sure they did a risk analysis and used the usual three categories: cost, schedule, and technical.

I think we are missing the whole point just to argue, but if I were a company making and supplying computers and other electronic device to Toyota, what would I do? If a 50 cent chip was a critical and necessary part to my computer that would be sold to Toyota and keep the money coming in, would I use the same inventory purchase formula for a critical 50 cent part as other readily available components? Or would I keep a good supply on hand with a safety stock as a hedge? A $500 part may be a different story, or one with multiple suppliers.

Point is if the computer is my main business, and the computer sold to Toyota is a critical item to them, I’m going to try to stay in business. Yes all parts are critical to a car but some can be sourced from more than one supplier.