General Motor’s U.S. sales rose sharply for the third straight quarter and Toyota Motor Corp.’s deliveries declined for a third straight month, as inventories steadily recover from a microchip shortage and discounts, while still low, rise across much of the industry.
GM said first-quarter sales rose 18 percent, with volume up 16 percent at Chevrolet, 7.6 percent at GMC, 99 percent at Buick and 29 percent at Cadillac.
The company said it ended the first quarter with 412,285 cars and light trucks in dealer stock or in transit, unchanged from the end of the fourth quarter.
Toyota, saddled with some of the industry’s lowest stockpiles, said March sales dipped 9.1 percent, with the Toyota division off 12 percent and Lexus advancing 12 percent.
GM easily outsold Toyota by more than 100,000 units during the first three months.
Honda Motor Co.’s U.S. sales also rebounded, and Hyundai and Kia racked up more gains in March, setting records for the month.
Sales advanced 8 percent at American Honda last month, with deliveries up 8.8 percent at the Honda division and 2.6 percent at Acura. It was the automaker’s second gain of the year after a 1.4 percent decline in February and 14 percent rise in January.
American Honda has been among the automakers most impacted by tight chip supplies, mostly sourced from inland China. The Honda brand ended March with nearly 40,000 cars and light trucks in stock, a spokesman said.
Volume rose 27 percent to 75,404 last month at Hyundai, with retail deliveries increasing 15 percent to 68,312. Hyundai said sales to fleet customers represented 9.4 percent of March volume.
The company ended March with 53,119 cars and light trucks in U.S. inventory, down slightly from 54,156 at the close of February but up from 17,271 a year earlier.
U.S. sales advanced 20 percent to 71,294 at Kia, its fifth-straight month of a gain of 20 percent or more.
Kia said four models — Carnival, Sportage, Telluride and Forte — set March records while sales of electrified models increased 10 percent, even as deliveries of the EV6 slumped 69 percent to 988 from 3,156 a year earlier.
Kia has one of the lowest days-supply of vehicles across the industry and on Saturday said production and availability of key utility vehicles and “in-demand” electrified vehicles will improve “throughout the year.”
Hyundai and Kia have now posted higher sales eight consecutive months, the longest streak among mass-market brands in the U.S.
Genesis also set a monthly U.S. sales record with volume of 5,656, up 23 percent, its fifth straight gain, on higher crossover deliveries.
Volume rose 5.3 percent at Mazda.
Most other automakers will report March or first quarter U.S. sales on Monday, followed by Ford Motor Co. on Tuesday, and Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Jaguar Land River later in the month.