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Last year wasn’t great for car sales. This year is looking much worse. Unless you’re Tesla, which is seeing record sales while the rest are falling far behind. The US auto industry is down 22-percent in the third quarter of 2021 over the same period in 2020 or 2019. Tesla is seeing incredible sales.

Chip shortages and supplier snafus have hurt most of the companies except Tesla

Tesla Model 3 in white photographed in a black studio environment.
Tesla Model 3 | Tesla Motors

Tesla, as it is prone to do, countered these dismal figures with an increase of 104-percent over the third quarter of 2019. When compared to the down year of 2020 US sales grew 67%. And 2020 was a good year for the electric car company. 

Plus, Tesla can’t seem to catch up with some model orders. If you order a Model Y now, you won’t see it in your driveway until April of next year, according to CleanTechnica. Other brands seeing an increase were BMW, Lexus, Kia, Hyundai, and Volvo. But combined, those numbers still don’t match Teslas. 

Tesla is glad it is not Chevy or Ford

A dark colored 2021 Ford F-150 parked in front of a white building.
2021 Ford F-150 | Getty Images

The two biggest losers are both Chevy and Ford. Chevy was the worst with volume year-over-year down 162,392 vehicles. Ford was a close second with volume down over 140,000 units. Fiat and Chrysler were down 64-percent and 51-percent, respectively. 

Compared to 2019, Fiat was down 83-percent, while Infiniti dropped almost 60-percent. When you look at vehicles sold, the overall numbers also look bad. Sales are down by over 500,000 through September 2020. Going back to 2019, they’re down by almost one million vehicles. In all, Tesla had the highest overall percentage increase, while scoring the fifth highest volume increase overall.

Kia and Hyundai were both up year-over-year

Blue 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric driving by windmills
2022 Hyundai Kona Electric | Hyundai

The Tesla Model 3 Just Became the Best Selling Vehicle in Europe, And For Good Reason

Surprisingly, looking at 2019 versus 2021 third-quarter sales, the beleaguered Alfa Romeo was actually up by five percent. South Korean manufacturers Kia and Hyundai were up 12-percent and three percent respectively. And they are only now dipping their toes into the EV market. The expectation is that as more EVs are introduced, the sister companies will see ever-increasing sales spikes. 

All of the Stellantis brands took a hit in 2021 versus the 2020 third quarter. Fiat is down the worst at 64-percent. Chrysler saw a 51-percent drop, Dodge was down 32-percent, Ram trucks saw sales drop 17-percent, and Alfa was down 10-percent.  

Both US luxury brands Cadillac and Lincoln lost share. Lincoln lost almost 40-percent year-over-year, with Cadillac down a close 32-percent. Of course, Lincoln no longer has any sedans, while Cadillac manufactures the CT4 and CTS. Would sedans help Lincoln? Would killing sedans help Cadillac? These are the types of questions that vex product planners at all car companies.