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Auto Market Likely to Maintain Near-Record Momentum

But shift to utes could accelerate, forecasts Toyota autos chief.

by on Dec.02, 2016

The Toyota RAV4 may soon be Toyota's best-seller.

After several tenuous months, U.S. new car sales slipped back on their record track in November, and while it’s likely the industry has hit the peak of the current economic cycle, demand is likely to remain strong for several more years, forecast the U.S. head of automotive operations for Toyota.

What consumers will be buying is another matter, according to Senior Vice President Bob Carter, who stressed that the shift from conventional passenger cars to utility vehicles and other light trucks “is going to continue to accelerate in the future.”

Barring a sudden slowdown of the American market, sales should just nip past last year’s all-time record of around 17.5 million, said Carter, during a meeting with journalists in Detroit. “By anyone’s estimation,” he said, “that’s fantastic.”

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Exchange Rates Drive Toyota’s Profits to a New Record

Currency shifts, cost cuts overcome sales slide.

by on Aug.04, 2015

Sales of the recently redesigned Camry helped Toyota boost sales in North America.

Toyota Motor Co. reported net profits of 646.3 billion yen, or $5.2 billion, for the April-June quarter, a 10% increase, and the maker’s third consecutive record for the quarter. But the numbers barely concealed some fundamental problems facing the Japanese giant.

Worldwide sales were down by almost 6% for the first quarter of the Japanese fiscal year, to 2.1 million, with the maker facing a number of problems across Asia. As a result, Toyota lost its global sales crown for the first half of 2015 to Germany’s Volkswagen AG.

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The sales decline was “a result of weaker sales in Japan,” and emerging markets like China and India, “despite stronger sales in North America,” said Tetsuya Otake, managing officer of Toyota, during a telephone news briefing.

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Big Changes in Toyota Management

Top American exec expands role; maker appoints first woman as global PR chief.

by on Mar.04, 2015

Toyota Motor North America Chief Executive Officer Jim Lentz spoke at the groundbreaking of the company's new headquarters in Plano, Texas.

Toyota is making some big changes to its senior management, and while most of the moves focus on the critical North American market, the world’s largest automaker also plans to shatter Japan’s glass ceiling by promoting Julie Hamp to run its global public relations efforts.

The appointments come at a time when Toyota is making other big changes, including the move of its North American headquarters from California to a sprawling new campus in Plano, Texas.

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“Bringing together an experienced and diverse team of executives with fresh perspectives, unique regional insights and a global mindset will help us better serve customers around the world,” said Toyota Motor Corp. Pres. Akio Toyoda, in a prepared statement.

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Toyota Earnings Surge 5% on Sales Gains in U.S., Europe

But maker loses ground at home.

by on Aug.05, 2014

The new Toyota Corolla hit big in the U.S. and Europe.

Driven by strong demand in both North America and Europe, Toyota Motor Co. saw earnings surge 5% in the latest quarter.

Toyota earned 587.77 billion yen, or $5.7 billion, an all-time record, during the April-June quarter, up 4.6%, while global sales increased 2%, to 6.39 trillion yen, or $62.3 billion. Both numbers exceeded industry analysts’ forecasts. According to FactSet, the consensus called for a 12% decline in earnings compared to a year ago, with only a 1% gain in sales.

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The earnings announcement came just days after Toyota released its sales numbers for the first six months of 2013 showing it had remained the world’s largest automotive manufacturer, and apparently still on track to become the first in the industry to sell 10 million vehicles in a single calendar year – though the maker slightly reduced the sales forecast it announced in January.

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Toyota Delivers Record Earnings, Sales

But maker warns earnings could dip slightly in year ahead.

by on May.08, 2014

Strong demand for new models, such as the redesigned Corolla, helped Toyota top 10 million sales.

Even after paying a $1.2 billion settlement to the U.S. Justice Department to settle a safety dispute, Toyota Motor Co. wrapped up its fiscal year with record annual profits and sales, Toyota becoming the world’s first maker to ever sell 10 million vehicles in a 12-month period.

But the Japanese giant also warned today that earnings for the year ahead will likely slip slightly as momentum from a weak yen begins to fade. The maker could also feel the impact of an increase in the sales tax in Japan where it overwhelmingly dominates the market.

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For the full fiscal year that ended on March 31st, Toyota delivered net profits of 1.82 trillion yen, or $17.9 billion at current exchange rates. That was nearly double the 962 billion yen it earned the year before. Annual sales, meanwhile, increased 16%, to 25.69 trillion yen, or $252 billion.

Notably, Toyota moved 10.13 million vehicles during the fiscal year, the first automaker ever to achieve that goal – and something it may achieve during the 2014 calendar year, as well, if it hits its targets.

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Toyota Increasing U.S. Capacity – Again

Maker struggling to keep up with growing sales.

by on Jun.21, 2013

Toyota's latest investment will help keep up with consumer demand for products like the new Avalon.

With steady growth in North American sales pinching capacity throughout the auto industry, Toyota Motor Corp is struggling to maintain its market share and now plans to boost capacity with a $200 million investment at three key factories in the U.S.

Toyota is far from alone. Sales in the U.S. are expected to jump from 14.5 million in 2012 to 15.5 million this year, leaving a number of makers racing to keep pace. Among manufacturers now planning to add employees and, if necessary, expand existing facilities are Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co. Chrysler Group, Nissan Motors and Honda.

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The steep recession that started in 2008 forced manufacturers and suppliers to trim capacity and until now they have been slow to add new capacity even as sales have recovered. But the tempo of new investment finally is picking up.

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Toyota Investing $500 Mil to Build Lexus ES in US

Lexus ES to move to Georgetown plant by 2015.

by on Apr.19, 2013

Coming at you. Toyota will be building the newly updated Lexus ES at its Georgetown, Kentucky plant.

Toyota Motor Co. is expected to announce Friday plans to invest more than $500 million in its Georgetown, Kentucky plant to move production of one of its Lexus luxury vehicles to the U.S. for the first time.

The world’s largest automaker already produces more than half of the vehicles it sells in the U.S. at various North American assembly plants. But it has, until now, limited production of its Lexus line almost exclusively to Japanese factories.  Though the RX crossover is now produced in Canada, the Lexus ES will become the first luxury model – and the 11th Toyota vehicle assembled in the U.S.

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Toyota is the last of the Japanese “Big Three” to move at least some luxury car production to the States. But like rivals Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., it has been hollowing out production in the home Japanese market due to concerns about exchange rates – as well as potential production issues underscored by the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami that all but shut down the maker’s operations for much of the following nine months.

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Toyota U.S. Plants Due Back to Normal By September

Factories rebound ahead of expectations.

by on Jun.16, 2011

Toyota now expects to have production of all 12 models built in North America back up to normal by September.

Working with suppliers – and finding alternative sources, where necessary – Toyota today said it expects to have its North American vehicle production back to normal by September, notably earlier than it originally feared following the disastrous Japanese earthquake and tsunami of March 11.

The entire Japanese auto industry has been feeling the pinch of parts shortages resulting from the March disaster, which struck Japan’s northeast coast, killing tens of thousands and damaging or destroying 100s of automotive parts facilities.

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Like most of the Japanese competitors, Toyota’s home market plants were shuttered for the better part of a month and its entire global factory network has been operating well below capacity since then.  Toyota was particularly vulnerable, however, because it produces significantly more vehicles in Japan than key rivals Nissan and Honda.

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