Toyota North America to post fastest growth this fiscal year

Article by Anita Panait, on May 14, 2013

Toyota Motor Corp. views North America as its fastest-growing market this current financial year ending March 31, 2014, leading the carmaker to post its highest profits since the global financial crisis. Toyota expects its sales in North America to jump 7 percent to 2.6 million vehicles in the current fiscal year. The carmaker expects its redesigned Lexus IS sedan and Toyota Corolla compact car to boost its growth in the region, which is anticipated to outpace slower gains in other markets as well as a sales slump in Japan.

Executive Vice President Nobuyori Kodaira remarked, while releasing the carmaker’s fiscal year earnings, that in the United States, employment is increasing and the housing market is improving, adding that the country’s economy is in “very good shape." He further noted that the North American market is now showing an improvement. 

Toyota posted a 32-percent jump in sales in North America to 2.5 million units in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013, as the Japanese carmaker rallied from  the inventory problems caused by the 2011 earthquake in Japan and floods in Thailand.

For 2013, a slower yet steady growth in North America could help drive Toyota to become the first global carmaker to sold 10 million vehicles in a year.  On a wholesale basis, Toyota expects to sell around 9.1 million vehicles globally in the current fiscal year, up from 8.9 million units last year.

On a retail basis, the carmaker expects to sell around 10.1 million. It also expects profit and revenue to hit the highest levels since the global financial crisis, but will not be enough to surpass an all-time record set in the fiscal year March 31, 2008.

Lexus introduces its 3rd-generation IS sport sedan with one confident and bold design that is emphasized by its dynamic signature spindle grille. Plus, for the first time, it has separated the LED Daytime Running Lights. Its "aggressive elegance" is combined with a stronger brand identity and more powerful road presence, helping make the 2014 IS models more striking than ever.

Because of its substantially increased body rigidity, the new Lexus IS is able to provide a more dynamic driving experience with improved body control and enhanced stability while also delivering more ride comfort. Moreover, new laser-screw welding, additional spot welding, and adhesive body-bonding techniques have made higher rigidity possible. Additionally, the now-smaller IS package has adopted the revised front suspension, new multi-link rear suspension, and steering from the GS sedan.

There are two 2014 IS models available. There's the Lexus IS 250, which is powered by a 2.5-liter V6 engine that delivers 204 horsepower at 6,400rpm and a torque of 185 lb.-ft. at 4,800rpm. This engine is matched with a 6-speed ECT or Electronically Controlled Transmission featuring sequential manual-shifting mode plus rev matched downshifts in a sport mode.

Then there's the IS 350 with a 3.5-liter V6 engine with D4-S direct & port fuel injection. This engine delivers 306 hp at 6,400rpm and 277 lb.-ft. torque at 4,800rpm. Moreover, the Lexus IS 350 inherits the 8-speed, Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission from the Lexus IS F high-performance model that features paddle shifters as well as a G-force Artificial Intelligence system. This G-AI system selects the optimum gear as well as the downshift pattern automatically in response to G-force.

Both IS models have an available all-weather drive system that is electronically controlled and is designed to help improve traction and grip in any driving condition by varying front-to-rear torque balance automatically from 50:50 up to 30:70.

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