Toyota Motor North America has a rosier outlook than the forecasting firms.
Jack Hollis, senior vice president of automotive operations, said he expected light-vehicle sales “in the mid-16 million range.”
“In terms of the semiconductor supply, we expect challenges to continue through the first quarter of , but supply is improving every day,” he said. “As for inventory, we will see a steady increase all year. However, we do not believe we will see 100,000 vehicles on the ground in 2022.”
Toyota and Lexus began December — historically one of their biggest sales months of the year — with 116,638 vehicles either at dealerships or in port awaiting shipment.
That represented an 18-day supply of light trucks and a 20-day supply of cars, and about a third what they had in stock a year earlier.
Randall Reed, CEO of eight-store World Class Automotive Group in Texas, which has Ford and Lincoln franchises, expects more inventory in the spring but not pre-crisis amounts.
“We’ll never get back to the levels of inventory that we used to stock, and I’m happy about that,” Reed said. “I’d much rather have a lower day supply and keep the demand high and the rebates low. It’s good for the manufacturer, and it’s good for us.”
Automakers may be adapting to limited chip supplies, said Mark Fulthorpe, executive director of global light-vehicle production forecasting at IHS Markit. Production has begun to stabilize globally in recent months, and automakers have been experiencing less unscheduled downtime, he said.
“There’s a new normal probably emerging there, which has the more limited supply of semiconductors built into OEM planning in a way that was probably not possible earlier in the year,” Fulthorpe said during a Dec. 16 presentation to reporters and IHS customers.