Jan 3 (Reuters) - General Motors retained its crown as the top-selling automaker in the U.S. in 2023, edging past rival Toyota Motor, as easing supply snags and sustained demand drive the industry to its best year since the pandemic.

The Detroit automaker shrugged off a hit from a costly auto strike to report 2023 U.S. new vehicle sales of 2,594,698 units, up 14.1% from last year, while Toyota's annual sales rose 6.6% to 2,248,477 vehicles.

Automakers are expected to have sold a total of 15,499,224 vehicles in the U.S. in 2023, the highest since 2019, when the industry reported sales of 17,044,011 vehicles, according to figures from consultant Cox Automotive.

The resurgence in sales comes after companies ramped up their production to keep up with sustained demand for new vehicles in 2023, though some analysts warn that high interest rates will take a toll on demand this year.

"High vehicle prices and high interest rates remain the industry's Grinch right now, and that trend will continue into next year," Cox said.

In a sign that demand is easing, car dealers had to offer generous incentives and discounts in December to clear older inventory after two years of holding back on promotions.

"This is the third consecutive year in which U.S. consumers spent more than half a trillion dollars buying new vehicles," J.D. Power said in a report last month.

Electric vehicles also grabbed a bigger share of consumer wallets. Toyota said on Wednesday sales of electrified vehicles rose 30.4% to 657,327 vehicles, making up 29.2% of its overall U.S. sales.

Total U.S. EV sales are expected to be about 8% of overall auto sales in 2023, with that number rising to around 10% this year, Cox added. But analysts say high interest rates are set to hurt EV demand as well.

"Sales of EVs are likely to continue to improve, just not at the astronomical rate the industry saw in years past," AutoForecast Solutions said in a report. (Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Devika Syamnath)