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Toyota Takes Another Hit With November Sales

Hefty incentives, free maintenance and new safety campaign fail to reverse slump.

by on Dec.01, 2010

Even the Prius saw sales slide, with incentives needed to keep the hybrid's metal moving out showroom doors.

It was a good month for the U.S. auto industry – most of the industry, anyway, but despite a mighty push to overcome its ongoing safety problems, Toyota bucked the market trend by posting a 3.2% sales decline for November.  Adjusted to a daily sales basis, the decline, the maker noted, was 7.3%

The Japanese giant, long the industry benchmark, was clearly unable to keep up with the competition during a month when Detroit’s long-troubled makers all posted double-digit gains.  In fact, other than Toyota, it was hard to find any brand that didn’t report a solid month, Nissan up 45%, year-over-year, and Audi reporting an all-time record for November, which could help the German brand push past the 100,000 sales mark for the first time ever in the U.S.

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The poor showing was particularly troubling for Toyota which, in October, was the only major automaker to report a decline – of 4%.

What’s going wrong?  “Without new product to compete with and stripped of its bulletproof quality reputation, Toyota is forced to sell on the deal,” Edmunds analyst Jessica Caldwell said in a statement.