Times continue to be tough for automakers and some are dealing with the challenges more successfully than others. Here is how we’ve assessed them.
Half-way through 2022, the auto industry has not only failed to recover from the sales declines attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has slipped even further behind.
That decline is primarily a result of ongoing global supply-side issues that began with semiconductor chips but have expanded to include a broad range of components and materials.
While vehicle supply still remains well behind demand, the demand-side is now threatened as well, by rampant inflation and corresponding increases in interest rates. So, as supply-side issues are slowly resolved, the challenge will be to satisfy the remaining pent-up demand quickly before it runs out.
In this chaotic climate, individual automakers’ sales numbers continue to be a reflection of their ability to manage the supply side as much or more as the demand for their products. It is in this context that we present our 2022 Automakers Mid-Year Report Card.
Here, in alphabetical order by manufacturer, is how we have graded them based on relative sales numbers and changes in market share, as well as their prospects for the rest of the year and beyond, considering product in the pipeline. As always, you may or may not agree!
Acura’s sales fell well below the market norm in H1, with both its flagship MDX and top-selling RDX crossovers experiencing big declines. Applying the once iconic Integra name to the Civic-based ILX replacement might help in the second half, but there is no other new product coming in the short term, as Acura prepares for a fully electric future.
Audi had a tough second quarter, due primarily to production limitations, but it maintained its market share through the first half, thanks to strong sales of its new A3 and American-built Q5 crossover. Its product range remains broad, including several BEVs, and there are plenty of new products in the pipeline, so all should remain well.
After giving up some market share in 2020-21, BMW is back on pace and ahead of the market through the first half of 2022, with its share back up to 2019 levels. The U.S.-built X3 and X5 utes are the biggest sellers in a broad product range that is spiced with BEVs, and there is a steady stream of fresh product coming. BMW is back!
Hit hard by the chip crisis initially, Stellantis has bounced back in 2022 to restore its lost market share if not its third-place sales ranking, usurped by Toyota. While its Canadian-built cars have performed well, the bulk of Stellantis’ strength has come from its broad Jeep product line. There are encouraging signs but they are still mixed with uncertainty.
Ford, like Stellantis, has outperformed the market and regained market share lost in 2021, regaining its traditional best-seller status. Recent products, including Mach E, Bronco and Maverick are performing well, F-Series isn’t down by much and its Lightning model is leading the EV truck initiative. So it’s situation normal at Ford for now.
General Motors: A-
After a slow start to the year, GM gained sales strength in Q2 but still lagged the market slightly at the half and lost some market share from a year ago. Sales were down relatively evenly across all brands. Some freshening on the truck side promises short-term help but major new product arrivals will be low-volume for the rest of this year.
While Genesis is still a relative newcomer to the market, it has already surpassed several long-established competitors in sales and doubled its market share from a year ago. It is rapidly expanding its model range, including the recent addition of the all-electric GV60, with the promise of much more to come.
After two years of sales decline, Honda regained some form in the second half of 2021 but slipped back further in H1, 2022, losing another 1.4 per cent of market share from a year ago and falling to sixth-place in the rankings. New Canadian-built Civics and CR-Vs, with hybrids coming, promise improvements in fortunes but they remain badly needed.
Hyundai has not only routinely outperformed the market and grown its market share – up another 0.7 per cent from a year ago – it has blown past Honda to claim fifth place in the sales rankings. It is among the front-runners in the BEV transition, has a steady stream of new product in the pipeline, and seems set to keep growing from strength to strength.
Having lost a third of its market share in 2020, Infiniti has effectively maintained its status quo since then. Increased sales of refreshed QX55 and QX60 utilities in 2022 have offset declines from other models enough to match the overall market slide. Rumours suggest an all-electric future over time but for now the status quo remains.
Jaguar is in trouble. Canadian sales are down by two-thirds from last year’s already depressed levels, reflecting a company in product turmoil with no immediate respite in sight. The long-term plan is to take the brand much further up-market and make it all-electric by 2025. But first it has to survive until then.
After being one of the industry’s strongest performing brands through 2021 and Q1 2022, Kia hit a roadblock in Q2. Sales, which had routinely outpaced the market until then, fell dramatically across the lineup with only the Seltos CUV making gains. There is plenty of product scope for continued growth so, to be hoped, it’s a temporary setback.
Land Rover: B
Land Rover has consistently fared better than its Jaguar sibling but with sales off by more than 50 per cent in 2022, its production capability is clearly hurting. The Defender introduced last year is the brand’s best seller and there are new Range Rovers and Range Rover Sports to fill the void once a claimed “record order book” can be filled.
Lexus continues to outperform the market, almost equaling 2021’s first-half sales and gaining a couple tenths of market share, to match its leading luxury-brand competitors. The redesigned, Canadian-built RX is the brand’s best seller but there is strength across the lineup and an all-electric RZ model on deck. Lexus’ future looks bright.
Maserati is a minor player in terms of total numbers but its sales continue to grow in a down market. While its sports cars maintain a niche audience the growth comes primarily from its Levante entry in the luxury utility segment, which will soon be joined by the smaller Grecale CUV. So expect continued growth within a small envelope.
As a relatively small player among much larger competitors, Mazda has been especially hard hit by the ongoing chip supply crisis, which accounts at least partially for sales being down 24 per cent in H1 2022. The product line remains critically acclaimed and there are new larger utility vehicles coming, but the short-term prospects continue to look tough.
After a couple years of share decline, Mercedes-Benz has bounced back in 2022, outperforming the market and regaining lost share. Much of that gain came from a new S-Class, while GLC and GLE utilities are the brand’s best sellers and the Sprinter is a big plus. There is a full pipeline, including BEVs, to keep M-B the top luxury brand.
Mini sales took a big hit during the pandemic and both sales and market share have further declined in 2022, in spite of a modest appearance update. Rumours suggest major changes and additional models, including a BEV for 2024, but don’t expect any significant product relief before in the near term.
Mitsubishi was among the strongest performers a year ago, in relative terms, and it has improved even further, gaining a significant three-tenths of a point in share in 2022. While RVR sales have declined, those of all other models have increased, with the Outlander leading the way. Fresh product is coming, so Mitsubishi is in a good place.
Nissan has suffered a 1.3 per cent share decline over three years, the second-biggest loss in the industry, with 0.4 per cent in H1 2022. Passenger-car sales, particularly Sentra and Altima, have held up well, as have those of most Nissan utes but a big drop in Rogue sales has hurt badly. Strong new product is coming, including the Ariya BEV, and it is needed.
Whatever else happens, Porsche sales keep on climbing—not just those of a single model but across the whole portfolio, with utility vehicles leading the way. The brand added another three-tenths of a share point in H1 2022 and there’s a steady stream of freshened product and model variants coming so expect more of the same.
While Subaru has weathered global supply challenges well over the past three years, its sales took a big hit in Q2 2022, costing it 0.3 per cent in market share. The updated U.S.-built Outback made solid gains that were more than offset by declines for the Japanese-built Crosstrek and Forester. Ongoing supply-side issues remain a near-term constraint.
Toyota has closely matched overall market performance in 2022, giving up a smidge of market share from 2021. While the new Corolla Cross and Tundra have added sales, they were offset by declines from Corolla and RAV4, the brand’s top sellers. There’s a new bZ4X EV coming along with a resurrected Crown so lots to look forward to.
Volkswagen outperformed the market in 2021 but has not done so in the first half of 2022. Sales gains from the new Taos crossover and ID.4 were more than offset by declines from the rest of the lineup, costing 0.4 per cent of market share. There’s no major new product imminent and turmoil in top management isn’t helping so recovery may take time.
Volvo may not be a major market force but it is a relentless one, continuing to gain sales and share while others falter. It has a loyal following and is a leader in the sequenced transition to EVs via PHEVs. The brand’s top-selling XC60 utility vehicle is its big gainer in 2022, there is fresh product in the pipeline and Volvo is well positioned for the future.