Toyota U.S. Sales Slump Continues in November

Toyota is aiming to retain the U.S. industry retail sales leadership this year.

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A. today reported November sales of 129,317 units, a decrease of 7.3% from the same period last year on a daily selling rate basis. On a raw volume basis, unadjusted for 24 selling days in November 2010, compared to 23 selling days in November 2009, TMS sales were down 3.2% compared to the same period last year.

Competitors are posting double digit sales increases in NovemberToyota is only major maker with a decline.

Toyota Division recorded sales of 111,077 vehicles, a decrease of 7.6% from the year-ago month, DSR. In terms of raw volume, Toyota sales were down 3.6% from last November.

Lexus Division reported sales of 18,240 units for the month, down 5.5% from November 2009, on a DSR basis. By volume Lexus Division sales were down 1.4% compared to the year-ago month.

Nonetheless, Toyota is aiming to retain the U.S. industry retail sales leadership this year said Bob Carter, Group Vice President & General Manager, Toyota Division during a press call. If this happens, Toyota car sales will be led by Camry, which now has a large lead over the Honda Accord.

Honda Accord was challenging Camry earlier this year when stuck gas pedal and unintended acceleration problems were the focus of U.S. Congressional hearings. It now appears highly likely that Camry will lead Accord for the ninth straight year as the number one car in America.

However, Toyota car sales remain particularly weak at 58,701 units, a decrease of 21.5% from last November because of a drastic decline in fleet sales (-60% in November), and an overall shift in the U.S. market to light trucks as gas prices remain relatively stable.

In what I view as a response to Honda’s aggressive price reduction of the Insight Hybrid, December will see Toyota Prius offering 2.9% financing and an “aggressive lease,” according to Carter. The Prius mid-size gas-electric hybrid reported sales of 10,224 units, up 1.9% over the year-ago month. (See Honda Cuts Price of 2011 Insight Hybrid)  Carter said that the U.S. is now taking all of the slack production of the Japanese-made Prius after the end of incentives in Japan cut demand.

“This is the month to buy a Prius,” Carter said.

Toyota is doing much better in the decidedly non-green, but resurging truck and luxury markets. Lexus is only off slightly, though with increases in sales incentives of as much as 100%, according to outside sources and other automakers. Lexus Group Vice President & General Manager, Mark Templin said he was “comfortable” with the incentives.

Toyota Division light trucks posted sales of 52,376 units in November, up 15.2% over the same period last year. Light truck sales were led by the RAV4 compact SUV, which recorded monthly sales of 12,306 units, up 2.4% over November 2009. Highlander and Highlander Hybrid posted combined sales of 9,156 units, up 41.2% over the year-ago month. 4Runner posted sales of 4,062 units for the month, up 130.5% over November 2009. The Tundra full-size pickup posted sales of 7,464 units, up 12.1% over last November. The Tacoma mid-size pickup recorded sales of 8,616 units, up 8.2% over the year-ago month. The Sienna minivan reported sales of 8,125, up 4.0% over the same period last year.


Lexus reported passenger car sales of 9,188 units, down 12.4% from the year-ago month. Lexus passenger car sales were led by the ES entry luxury sedan, which posted sales of 4,070 units. The IS line-up reported combined sales of 2,557 units. The LS and LS hybrid recorded a combined sales of 1,270 units, up 15.1% over last November.

Lexus light trucks recorded sales of 9,052 units, up 2.7% over last November. Lexus Division sales were led by the RX 350 and RX 450h, which reported combined November sales of 7,235 units, down 12.5% from the year-ago month. With November sales of 1,376 units, GX mid-size luxury utility vehicle posted a gain of 530% over the same period last year


Scion posted November sales of 3,834 units. Year-to date Scion is off 24% at 41,722 vehicles. The all-new, redesigned tC sports coupe led the way with sales of 1,619 units, up 79.2% over last November. The xB posted November sales of 1,405 units. The xD reported sales of 810 units for the month.

“By historical levels it still remains a challenging market,” said Carter. “Consumers are looking for high levels of value and shopping smartly.”

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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