Toyota Motor Corp. was outsold by General Motors Co. for the first time in six quarters, no thanks to a weaker demand in its home market, Japan. Toyota and its subsidiaries sold 2.48 million vehicles in the quarter ended June 2013, while GM sold 2.49 million. Toyota, however, still outsold GM in the first six months of 2013.
Toyota said that it posted an 8.4-percent decline in vehicles sales in the most recent quarter, revealing a weakness for a carmaker that is expecting to post its biggest profits in six years. Vehicle sales in Japan have been dropping steadily since the asset bubble burst in 1989. If not for incentives and subsidies from the Japanese government, sales in the country would have declined more dramatically.
Government incentives for fuel-efficient models expired in 2012. Jun Nokuo, an analyst with researcher R.L. Polk & Co. remarked to Bloomberg that the decline in Japan will continue since is an “aging society and the population is shrinking.”
Nokuo added that popularity of cars is declining in Japan since public transportation is easy to use. In the first half of 2013, Toyota posted a 1.2-percent drop in sales to 4.91 million units. GM and Volkswagen closely trail at 4.85 million vehicles and 4.7 million units, respectively.
The Japanese carmaker has been expecting that its sales in 2013 will surge to 10 million units. Thanks to the depreciating yen that has been increasing the value of Japanese exports, Toyota is expected to post a 48-percent surge in profit in the quarter ended June 2013 when it reports its results on Aug. 2, according to the average analyst estimate compiled by Bloomberg.