Toyota bets on strong surge in US demand for small pickups

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 7, 2014

The sales growth for small-pickup trucks has been a flat one, but Toyota Motor Corp. remains confident that the segment will expand as these vehicles become in demand. Bill Fay, general manager of the Toyota division, told Automotive News in an interview that the launch of new models in the small-pickup segment will spur interest and demand.

“With the new entries coming in, the market should expand,” Fay said. Toyota is planning to unveil a redesigned Tacoma truck at the upcoming Detroit auto show in January 2015 and Toyota is working to hike its production. To build more Tacomas, Toyota will have its Baja California site in Mexico implement a three-crew, three-shift production in April.

General Motors also recently relaunched its Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon small pickups for MY2015. The Tacoma saw its sales for the first 11 months of 2014 drop 4 percent to 140,747 units, but is still dominating the segment with a 66-percent share. Carmakers sold 2.7 percent more small pickups in the period to 214,523 units.

On the other hand, carmakers sold 6.6 percent more full-size trucks in the first 11 months of 2014 to 2.1 million units. According to Bob Carter, senior vice president of Toyota’s sales operations in the US, the Japanese carmaker is still undeterred and doesn’t regard the Tacoma launch and production hike as “risky moves.

He remarked that dealers have requested for more Tacomas, adding inventories have reached a 20-day supply. Carmakers usually prefer to offer full-size trucks since they generate bigger profits. Because of that these vehicles are usually donned with the latest innovations and are getting a large chunk of the marketing budget.

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