Toyota remains optimistic about the U.S. industry sales

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 5, 2012

The U.S. government may be implementing tax hikes and major spending cuts, which could lead to a fiscal cliff. Nevertheless, Toyota Motor Sales remains optimistic about the U.S. industry sales. Bob Carter, Toyota senior vice president of automotive operations, said that he is “more concerned” that the Midwest or Northeast will shut down due to a major snowstorm than the market being affected by an event in Washington.

He added that the market indicates a lot of strength now. Toyota anticipates that November sales will attain a 14.9 million seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales, with the calendar year achieving slightly higher than 14.3 million units. Carter said that there appears to be a strong consumer demand in November, when this month is usually weak.

Even if November is driven by a surge in demand as customers utilize their insurance to replace vehicles that were damaged during Hurricane Sandy, November will still be stronger than many summer months even without the incremental gain.

Toyota officially predicts that the industry in 2013 will be in the “upper 14s," but Carter expects to hit 15 million next year. Carter said that most of the 2013 growth will be generated from retail sales since fleet sales seems to have already reached the maximum level.

Carter added that the market is “going very well” and that there’s a real pent-up demand as consumer confidence is increasing. Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor Sales, said that there are 245 million cars in the U.S. but 20% of them are at least 16 years old.

This suggests that sales will continue to go up. The Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands, when combined, are likely to exceed the internal sales target of 2 million units this year. Carter didn’t establish a U.S. volume target for 2014 but he admitted that the redesign of five core Toyota products is expected to increase sales significantly.

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