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European Car Sales Post Biggest Gain in Five Years

June numbers jump 15%.

by on Jul.16, 2015

The Nissan Sway concept at its Geneva Auto Show debut. Nissan is ahead of Toyota in European sales so far this year.

Despite the threat of a Greek banking collapse and a breakup of the Euro Zone, European car sales posted their biggest gain in five years, surging 15% in June.

Marking the region’s 22nd consecutive month of growth, Europe has now seen an 8% rise in sales since the beginning of 2015, though volume is still well off from the industry peak. Nonetheless, the latest upturn is good news for an industry that has lost billions of dollars in the region and struggled with massive excess capacity.

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“This is all good news if this trend continues,” said Carlos Da Silva, an analyst with IHS Automotive, who described the upturn as “robust” and “quite convincing.”


Toyota Proclaims “We’re Back”

Maker aims to regain lost ground in Europe – and then some.

by on Sep.14, 2011

Despite the year's product shortages, Toyota of Europe CEO Didier Leroy expects the maker to handily top its strong 2010 sales.

“We’re back,” proclaimed Didier Leroy, the CEO of Toyota of Europe, as he began the maker’s press preview at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

That might have seemed an odd thing to say less than a year ago, when Toyota seemed to have unstoppable momentum.  But that was before the Japanese earthquake of March 11 that brought the country’s auto industry to a near stop.  In the months that followed, Toyota lost about three-quarters of a million units of production.

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Working frantically with its suppliers, the maker says it has not gotten its plants in Japan, the U.S. and Europe back up and running at normal capacity as of this week.  Now it has to play a game of catch-up.


Toyota Formally Launches First Plug-In

Bringing range of hybrids to Europe.

by on Sep.14, 2011

The new Toyota Prius Plug-in on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Underscoring the small but fast-growing presence of hybrids in Europe, Toyota brought its Prius Plug-in to Europe for its official world debut this week.

The plug-in will become part of an expanding “family” of hybrids sharing the Prius name, Didier Leroy, President of Toyota of Europe, told an audience at the Frankfurt Motor Show.  Set to reach the U.S. market, as well, in the coming months, the Prius Plug-in will have a larger battery pack than the conventional Toyota hybrid to permit it to drive longer distances in pure electric vehicle mode.

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Range will still be a modest 14.5 miles in battery mode – and will restrict the vehicle to speeds of around 60 mph.  That’s in sharp contrast to the Chevrolet Volt “extended-range electric vehicle” and its European sibling, the Opel Ampera, which get about 35 miles on a charge and can be used in electric mode at speeds up to around 90 mph.

Toyota, however, plans to sharply undercut the price of the two Detroit offerings.  Though the maker won’t reveal figures until closer to launch industry analysts expect something around or under $30,000 in the States – minus the federal $7,500 tax credit.  That could mean a buyer would get a plug-in from Toyota for about $10,000 less than a Volt.