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Toyota Officially Reclaims Global Sales Crown

GM slides to second, VW in third.

by on Jan.28, 2013

The success of the latest Toyota Camry helped the maker regain its global sales crown.

Toyota has officially reclaimed its global sales crown, the maker confirming it produced 9.75 million vehicles in 2012.

That was slightly ahead of a preliminary tally Toyota forecast as the year came to a close and locks it in first place ahead of General Motors, which sold 9.29 million vehicles.  Volkswagen, at 9.1 million, came in third for 2012.

Toyota’s sales were slightly lower than the company had projected earlier in the year, the shortfall reflecting the ongoing dispute between Japan and China over a chain of small, uninhabited islands both nations claim.

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In customary fashion, Toyota officials downplayed the sales results. “Rather than going after numbers, we hope to make fine products, one by one, to keep out customers satisfied. The numbers are just a result of our policy. And our policy will continue unchanged,” Toyota spokeswoman Shino Yamada told the Associated Press.


Toyota Back on Track as Global Sales Leader

Sales up 28% for first 9 months of 2012.

by on Oct.26, 2012

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda may miss his ambitious sales goal for 2012 but still regain the global automotive sales crown.

Toyota is fast recovering from last year’s Japanese earthquake and tsunami, a disaster that left it struggling for inventory for most of 2011.

And while the maker has suffered additional setbacks this year – including a boycott in China and its largest single recall ever due to a vehicle fire hazard – it is rapidly regaining momentum, global sales up 28% for the first nine months of 2012. That puts it ahead of General Motors and could let the Japanese giant the worldwide automotive sales crown it relinquished last year.

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In all, Toyota sold 7.4 million vehicles behind January 1 and September 30. By comparison, General Motors sold just 6.95 million cars, trucks and crossovers during the same period, its own sales up a far more modest 2.5%.


Toyota Again World’s Largest Automaker

Can it maintain momentum as challengers ramp up their game?

by on May.11, 2012

Toyota shifts design direction with the 2013 Avalon.

Toyota officials, all the way up to President Akio Toyoda, have routinely insisted that being number one was never their goal, and so they downplayed the fact that production cuts forced by last year’s Japanese earthquake and tsunami led Toyota to tumble to number four on the global sales charts, behind General Motors, Volkswagen AG and the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

Nonetheless, company officials aren’t exactly complaining about the fact that they were back in the saddle, again, at least for the first quarter of 2012 when sales by the various Toyota brands surged 18%, to 2.49 million, propelling the maker past its arch-rivals.

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“Although being No. 1 is not the main goal for us, it’s nice to see because hopefully it shows we’re on the right track,” said Jim Wiseman, Toyota’s North American vice president of external affairs. “With customers reacting so positively to all of the new and updated products we’re introducing this year, we’re optimistic the good momentum will continue.”


New RAV4-EV Shows Toyota No Longer Willing to Go it Alone

Japanese giant increasingly dependent upon alliances.

by on May.07, 2012

Toyota will build the RAV4 EV on the same Ontario assembly line producing the conventional version of the crossover.

Toyota today launched its all-new battery-electric vehicle, the RAV4-EV, at the annual International Electric Vehicle Symposium, in Los Angeles.  Based on the maker’s conventionally powered compact ute, the vehicle is intended to test the U.S. market’s interest in electric propulsion.

But it will also be a test of the budding relationship between the Japanese giant and the small California start-up Tesla Motors.  The guts of the RAV4-EV, its lithium-ion driveline, will come from Tesla, a company in which Toyota has so far invested more than $50 million and dangled millions more in contracts like the new electric vehicle.

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More broadly, it’s a test of a significant shift in strategy by the Japanese maker.  For most of its existence, the company – currently the world’s fourth-largest automaker – steadfastly did things on its own.  While other manufacturers frequently partnered with erstwhile rivals to fill gaps in their product and powertrain line-ups, Toyota reached into its vast treasury to fund its own programs or worked with a very small and select group of suppliers – known as a keiretsu — in which it usually held a significant financial stake.

No longer.  Toyota is rapidly lining up an assortment of alliances with not only some of the world’s most prestigious auto manufacturers but also some of its fiercest competitors.

“No one can handle it all by themselves,” acknowledged Yoshi Inaba, president and COO of Toyota Motor North America.


More Cars, But More Losses for Toyota Motor Sales

Toyota still hoping to return North America to the black in 2010.

by on Jul.24, 2009

Though it could soon outsell GM in the key U.S. market, Toyota has plenty of challenges ahead, according to its top U.S. executive, Yoshimi Inaba.

Though it could soon outsell GM in the key U.S. market, Toyota has plenty of challenges ahead, according to its top U.S. executive, Yoshimi Inaba.

Toyota’s top executive in the United States says the Japanese auto giant expects to lose money in North America even as it prepares to sell more cars in the United States than a restructured General Motors Corp.

Yoshimi Inaba, the new president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor America and chairman, and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales USA, said he hopes the company’s North American operations can return to profitability during its next fiscal year, which begin in April 2010.

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“It’s a challenge. I guess I’ve just set myself a very big goal,” he said, during a meeting with reporters in Detroit. “Our strength is our ability to meet local needs. “I don’t see how Toyota can be profitable again without being profitable in the North America,” he said.