Toyota Takes Global Auto Sales Lead From GM on Disaster Recovery

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Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) outsold General
Motors Co. (GM)
and Volkswagen AG (VOW) last year, regaining the global
sales lead after recovering from natural disasters and record
recalls that tarnished its reputation for quality.

Worldwide sales at Toyota, including deliveries from its
subsidiaries Hino Motors Ltd. (7205) and Daihatsu Motor Co. (7262), rose 23
percent to a record 9.75 million units in 2012, according to a
statement from the Toyota City, Japan-based carmaker. That
compares with the 9.29 million units sold by GM and 9.07 million
at Volkswagen.

The maker of the Camry sedan is counting on U.S. demand to
help achieve its projection for 9.91 million in annual sales
this year, helped by a weakening yen that makes it more
competitive against South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. (005380) A recovery
in China may also help counter an estimated decline in Japanese
demand after government incentives expired in September.

“Toyota has fully recovered from the earthquake and
natural disasters a year earlier,” said Satoshi Yuzaki, Tokyo-
based general manager at Takagi Securities Co. “Japanese
carmakers, including Toyota, will continue to benefit from an
extremely strong U.S. market.”

In 2008, Toyota ended GM’s 77-year reign as the world’s
largest automaker, holding on to the top annual sales spot until
2011, when it surrendered the title after production was
disrupted by natural disasters in Japan and Thailand.

Last year, Toyota increased its share of the U.S. market to
14.4 percent from 12.9 percent, narrowing the gap with GM, which
accounted for 17.9 percent of sales, according to Autodata
Corp., the Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based industry researcher.
Sales of Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles in the market rose 27
percent to 2.08 million units.

Toyota slid 0.1 percent to 4,335 yen as of 12:30 p.m. in
Tokyo trading. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average slid 0.6
percent.

Japan Sales

In Japan, Toyota increased sales by 35 percent to 2.41
million units in 2012, as the company rolled out the Aqua, a
smaller version of the world’s best-selling hybrid car and sold
as the Prius c outside of Japan. Demand was also boosted by
government subsidies and tax breaks for fuel-efficient cars.

Overseas sales climbed 19 percent to 7.33 million units,
according to the company.

Toyota recorded its first annual sales decline in China
last year since at least 2002 and had to push back plans to make
the country its third million-unit market, after a territorial
dispute over a group of islands in the East China Sea escalated
and triggered a consumer backlash.

In Europe, sales of Toyota and Lexus cars rose 2 percent to
837,969 units last year, led by a boost in demand for hybrid
vehicles, the company said Jan. 10. Regional industrywide sales
fell 7.8 percent to 12.5 million cars, shrinking for a fifth
consecutive year, according to the European Automobile
Manufacturers’ Association
.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Anna Mukai in Tokyo at
amukai1@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Young-Sam Cho at
ycho2@bloomberg.net


Enlarge image
Toyota Outlook Brightens as Yen Revives Confidence in Japan Inc.

Toyota Outlook Brightens as Yen Revives Confidence in Japan Inc.

Toyota Outlook Brightens as Yen Revives Confidence in Japan Inc.

Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Toyota Motor Corp. workers attend a line-off ceremony for the company’s Crown sedan at its Motomachi plant in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan.

Toyota Motor Corp. workers attend a line-off ceremony for the company’s Crown sedan at its Motomachi plant in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

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