Toyota wants more SUVs from Japan and Canada to meet US demand

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 17, 2015

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to produce more SUVs this year at its sites in Japan and Canada to cater to growing demand in the United States. Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota’s North American operations, remarked that the freeze on building new plants remains until end of March 2016, and the carmaker will have to squeeze more vehicles from its existing sites to meet a surge in demand.

Toyota will continue to expand the output of its SUVs after sales these models jumped 16 percent in 2014 to a new record. Toyota was able to regain its crown as the largest carmaker in the world as it continues to perform very well in the US, as boosted by its SUV models like the RAV4 and the RX.

The Japanese carmaker sells five SUVs while main rival Volkswagen AG only offers two. But Toyota may not stop at five as it is considering smaller SUVs for further growth, according to Lentz.

He remarked that there is no question that the market for smaller SUVs will grow and Toyota is taking a look how that market develops. “That’s going to be the next growth spurt.”

Lentz said that the carmaker can hike output of the RAV4 and RX in Japan and Canada this year. , Bill Fay, a Toyota division group vice president, told Bloomberg in an interview that the company has the opportunity to sell 300,000 RAV4s annually in the US after selling 267,698 units in 2014.

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