Toyota Motor Corp reported a near 15% drop in quarterly U.S. auto sales on Friday, as a semiconductor and parts shortage triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic kept inventories tight.

The auto industry is still grappling with a global chip shortage that has forced companies to cut production, although high car prices have partially offset its impact.

Supply bottlenecks started to ease in recent months, but the progress was stalled by Russia's war against Ukraine as well as new lockdowns in China following a resurgence in COVID-19 infections. "Inventory will take time to build because a large number of vehicles that are coming in now are already sold to someone. So unfortunately we are likely going to have soft numbers for at least a few more months," Morningstar analyst David Whiston said.

The Japanese automaker said first-quarter sales fell 14.7% to 514,592 vehicles.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)