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Supply chains still hampering automakers in various ways, analyst explains

Supply chain issues have hampered the auto industry since the beginning of the pandemic, and analysts following the industry say that automakers are offering mixed signals about the state of the market.

“I find it interesting because you would feel like it's a fairly consistent issue on these supplies, but it seems like it's starting to get spotty or certain automakers are coming back quicker than others, and they're benefiting from the slow reproduction and recovery of the supply chain issue,” iSeeCars.com Executive Analyst Karl Brauer told Yahoo Finance Live (video above).

General Motors (GM) posted a big sales gain in the third quarter, a reverse from the previous quarter as the company touted improved vehicle availability and strong demand. The automaker said its U.S. sales rose 24% compared to the same period last year from 446,997 to 555,580.

In a press release, the company said “GM and its dealers were able to translate improved semiconductor supplies, stable production and improvements in dealer inventory into a nearly 3-point improvement in retail market share year over year… as well as significant sales gains in the commercial fleet market.”

"What GM tells me is they certainly got a lot of their backlog supply issues filled because they had a lot of cars sitting around that weren't being sold because they had a few pieces or parts missing," Brauer said. "And I think they got all those cars cleared out, put into the dealerships, and we saw their inventory numbers grow and, of course, their sales grow tremendously."

Ford (F) is another example of an automaker trying to bounce back from supply chain disruptions. The company saw overall vehicle sales fall in September while electric vehicle (EV) sales triple, helping the company gain 3.1% in EV market share. At the same time, the company again increased the price of its electric F-150 Lightning Pro truck amid "ongoing supply chain constraints, rising material costs and other market factors."

President Biden test drives an electric hummer as he tours the General Motors Factory ZERO electric vehicle assembly plant in Detroit on November 17, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP)
President Biden test drives an electric hummer as he tours the General Motors Factory ZERO electric vehicle assembly plant in Detroit on November 17, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP)

Tesla (TSLA) is also still battling supply chains: The EV maker continued to break records in sales volume and deliveries, but the reported results came in short of analyst expectations. The company delivered a record 343,830 vehicles to customers in the three-month period ending in September, a notch higher from the 255,000 in the prior quarter that was hampered by the temporary factory shutdowns in China.

"It is becoming increasingly challenging to secure vehicle transportation capacity and at a reasonable cost during these peak logistical weeks,” Tesla said in a statement on Sunday.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk also weighed in on the logistical challenges with the company's Chinese factory, writing on Twitter: "Giga Shanghai makes cars for export in first half of quarter, then cars for far away parts ofChina, then cars for nearby parts of China. Net result is a crazy wave of deliveries end of quarter. It is tough on our team, so we’re hoping to reduce the wave in Q4 & Q1."

As for Toyota Motor (TM), sales dropped 7% in the quarter to 526,017 vehicles. Supply concerns also dragged down sales of Fiat Chrysler (STLA) by 6%, while Honda (HMC) saw Q3 sales numbers plummet by 35%.

“We're certainly not out of the woods yet," Brauer said.

Dani Romero is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @daniromerotv

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