Despite a cyberattack that shut down dealerships, a changing economy and shifting consumer preferences, the U.S. auto industry saw modest sales growth in the second quarter of 2024.

An estimated 4.1 million new cars and trucks were sold, up slightly 0.1% from the same period in 2023. Analysts point to pressing challenges such as high interest rates and global economic uncertainty as the most likely culprits for the modest growth.

While this growth is minimal, it indicates stable demand for new vehicles that is more in line with traditional markets before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Impact of the global CDK outage

A cyberattack on CDK Global, a major supplier of software and data services to automotive dealers, added to the industry’s challenges in late June, disrupting sales activities.

This outage temporarily affected dealers’ ability to complete transactions, manage inventory, and efficiently process customer data. Many dealers expect deliveries to continue into Q3 2024, although the full impact of the outage has yet to be determined.

Biggest turnover growth

Toyota’s Notable Performance Toyota emerged as one of the biggest winners this quarter, selling over 621,000 vehicles.

This is a significant increase of 9% compared to the previous year. The Japanese automaker’s strong performance can be attributed to the increasing popularity of its hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, which continue to attract eco-conscious consumers.

General Motors also reported impressive sales figures, with nearly 700,000 cars and light trucks sold. A notable highlight for GM was the increase in deliveries of electric vehicles (EVs), which rose 40 percent to nearly 22,000 units. This growth underscores GM’s successful push into the electric vehicle market and its commitment to sustainable transportation solutions.

Biggest Sales Losers

Stellantis’ Significant Decline Stellantis, the maker of Chrysler, Dodge, Ram and Jeep, on the other hand, saw a sharp decline in sales.

The company’s second-quarter sales fell 21%, with approximately 345,000 cars and trucks sold. This significant decline highlights the challenges Stellantis faces in a competitive market.

Tesla also reported a decline in U.S. sales, with estimates indicating a 16% decline in the second quarter, resulting in sales of about 175,000 vehicles. Globally, Tesla sales were down 4.8% compared to the previous year.

The decline can be attributed to several factors, including increased competition from other electric car manufacturers, an aging fleet and brand perception issues related to CEO Elon Musk’s image.

Mixed results, positive outlook

The second quarter of 2024 was a mixed bag for the U.S. auto industry. While overall sales growth was modest, companies like Toyota and General Motors benefited from rising demand for hybrid and electric vehicles.

On the other hand, Stellantis and Tesla faced significant challenges, which were reflected in their declining sales. The cyberattack on CDK Global added another layer of difficulty, disrupting dealership operations at a traditionally lucrative time of year.

As the industry evolves, automakers must adapt to changing market dynamics and consumer preferences to maintain growth and remain competitive.