A market rooted in light trucks and U.S. automakers
Amid the semiconductor shortage, light trucks remain the most popular vehicle type in the country. U.S. light truck sales amounted to under 10.9 million units in 2022, down by around six percent compared to 2021. Meanwhile, the number of cars sold in the U.S. has been decreasing from a staggering 11.4 million units in 1973 to a little just under 2.9 million units in 2022, as U.S. consumer demand has been shifting to larger vehicles over the past few decades. This market slowdown—due both to supply constraints and soaring inflation rates—came as the industry struggled to recover from the loss in demand and revenue incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
General Motors, Chrysler LLC, and Ford Motor are the key American automakers, although Chrysler LLC is a fully-owned subsidiary of the Europe-based Stellantis. In addition to these carmakers, Tesla's market share is rising due to the increasing adoption of electric vehicles. General Motors is the vehicle manufacturer with the highest market share, followed by Toyota, Ford, and Stellantis.
War and profitability challenge the industry
Fuel prices in the U.S. have been increasing throughout the pandemic as well as during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with diesel prices soaring over five U.S. dollars per gallon by March 10, 2022. The U.S. has increased its national petrol production through hydraulic fracking to ease dependence on Russian crude oil exports; however, market uncertainty has led to inflation despite the U.S.'s increased self-reliance. While retail gasoline prices have been decreasing during the second half of 2022, they remained higher than those recorded in 2019, before these market disruptions.
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Research Expert covering transportation and logistics