By Abhijith Ganapavaram
July 1 (Reuters) - General Motors Co is poised to outsell Japan's Toyota Motor Corp in the second quarter, even as sales at major automakers in the United States are set to drop as inventory shortages persist, industry analysts say.
GM, which lost its crown as the U.S. auto sales leader last year for the first time since 1931 to Toyota, is also expected to sell the most new vehicles in the quarter among all big automakers, according to Cox Automotive.
Automakers are set to report U.S. new-vehicle sales for three months through June on Friday and Tuesday.
The U.S. auto industry has been hit by a global semiconductor shortage, a labor crunch and other supply chain logjams, and is failing to keep up with pent-up consumer demand.
Toyota has been one of the worst hit automakers this year as chip shortages and China's COVID-19 lockdowns - which have impacted other automakers as well - forced it to repeatedly cut production, casting a cloud over its full-year production targets.
GM, in contrast, appears to have fared better. Earlier this month, it reaffirmed its goal of increasing 2022 vehicle production by 25%-30% from 2021.
The two automakers - along with Stellantis NV, Hyundai Motor Co, Honda Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co Ltd - are set to report a decline in quarterly sales, except Ford, according to data from Cox and TrueCar.
Cox officials said Ford, which reports June sales on Tuesday, has managed its inventories better than most others and is also recovering from last year's struggles.
Tesla Inc will be the only major brand to increase sales in the first half of the year, Cox said.
Industry observers are concerned about the potential impact of a multi-decade high inflation and rising gas prices on the auto industry, though they point out that demand remains strong at present, an unusual situation.
"I'm worried the consumer is close to the tipping point of being convinced we're in a recession and behaving like that," Cox Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke said earlier this week.
A bigger impediment to increasing auto sales at present still appears to be industry wide shortages of cars and trucks, which have led to analysts cutting their full-year sales forecasts.
"A recovery in vehicle production in 2022 seems highly unlikely at this point," auto industry consultant Edmunds' executive director of insights Jessica Caldwell said. (Reporting by Abhijith Ganapavaram in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)