The recovery of the U.S. auto market is likely to slow in 2014 – but Toyota Vice President Bob Carter said he’s focusing on the half-full view of the glass, noting that the coming year will still bring another surge in demand, marking the first time since the 1930s that American automotive sales increased for five consecutive years.
Carter, who oversees the Japanese giant’s U.S. automotive operations, offered a generally upbeat assessment of the status of both the car business and Toyota itself during an appearance marking the opening of the 2014 Chicago Auto Show. Among other things, Carter said repairs have begun on more than 30,000 Toyota vehicles that were pulled from sale last month due to a defect in their seat heaters. They should be back on sale in a matter of weeks, he explained.
Exactly what 2014 will bring is a matter of some debate – especially after the industry’s lackluster performance in January that saw a number of key makers, General Motors and Ford, lose ground. Toyota posted a 7.2% dip, year-over-year. That was a disappointment for those who hoped to see the market maintain the pace of 2013 when sales jumped by more than 1 million units, to 15.6 million, the best tally since before the recession. (more…)