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Toyota Predicts Sales Rise in 2011

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On: Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 12:49PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Predicts Sales Rise in 2011

Toyota Motor Corp. is predicting its light vehicle sales to rise as much as 13% in 2011, according to a Toyota U.S. executive. Several factors, including the increase in pickup truck sales, have influenced analysts’ forecast. Sales Chief of Toyota in the U.S., Bob Carter, reports that the company expects its sales to be between 12.5 and 12.9 million units next year; up from this year’s expected number of only 11.4  to 11.5 million.

Toyota truck sales rose to 52% of new vehicles sales in October, and Carter anticipates that the market will continue to even out to the average rate of about 50% car and 50% truck sales.

Carter also stated that “low consumer confidence,” resulting from the Toyota recalls, continues to take a toll on Toyota 2010 sales records. "Consumer confidence is still what's dragging down the market," said Carter, who added, "buyers are more cautious about taking on debt."

Toyota sales in the U.S. are slowly rising as a result of recovery from the low 2009 sales of only 10.4 million units that occured after the Japanese automakers’ 10 year record sales of over 16 million per year.

15 million vehicles were recalled worldwide with approximately 11 million in the United States, which is Toyota’s biggest market.

Carter said, “before the media firestorm about 55% of Toyota new vehicle buyers were new or returning to the brand. That figure dropped to the low 40 percentile in a 90-day period from March to May.”

Today Carter says that 57 to 58% of Toyota buyers are new customers, a number that has returned to its pre-recall level. "Our brand is recovering nicely," Carter said.

Although sales incentives are being offered on new Toyotas, Carter feels assured that incentives are part of a normal cycle and not a direct result of recalls as he stated, "Most if not all of our incentives are in interest rate reductions or leasing." Cash rebates have helped to boost sales, but according to Carter they have “hurt residual values.”

Carter is predicting that 2011 sales will reflect a return to normal rate with a balance of fleet sales versus retail sales of around 9%.

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