Jim Lentz, the newly appointed chief executive of Toyota Motor Sales USA, is optimistic about the growing economy of the United States, but is cautious on uncertainties that can derail consumer's attitude. In an interview with Reuters after the New York Auto Show, Lentz remarked that aging vehicles will continue to drive demand in 2013, as consumers try to replace their old units
Lentz expects the US auto industry to sell 15.3 million new cars this year, up from 14.5 million in 2012. Six months ago, Toyota forecasted the US auto industry to sell 14.7 million new cars in 2013, but its estimates at that time was affected by the fiscal cliff that might derail the economy.
Lentz, however, does not have to worry about the uncertainties this year, thanks to consumer aging vehicles that have now reached an all-time high of over 11 years as well as to improving mood of consumers as the housing and stock markets rise. Lentz noted that the improving situation in the US is boosting overall consumer confidence.
Toyota is expected to sell around 2.2 million cars and trucks on its three brands: Toyota, Lexus and Scion. The figure is much higher than the number of cars and trucks the carmaker sold in 2012 at 2.08 million units. Toyota is introducing nine new or updated vehicles in 2013. Carmakers are set to report their March sales in the US on Tuesday. Lentz said Toyota expects the industry's annual sales rate to be at around 15.4 million vehicles.