After a dismal year in 2011 which saw Toyota Motor Corp.’s sales in the United States drop drastically due to supply problems, the Japanese carmaker seems to be making a very strong comeback this year. Toyota was badly hit by the earthquake and tsunami that shook Japan in March 2011, forcing the company to temporarily shut down vehicle assembly, resulting to shortages from May through August 2011.
But how strong Toyota’s US comeback is will be known Friday, when the company releases its May 2012 sales results. According to the average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, Toyota is set to post a 93 percent year-on-year increase in cars and light trucks in the US, with its new models -- Camry sedan and Prius hybrid line – leading the pack. Following that forecast, it would be safe to expect that Toyota and other Japanese carmakers will gain a piece of US market share.
According to the average of nine analysts' estimates, overall US light-vehicle sales in May could soar 31 percent to 1.39 million units. Meanwhile, according to the average of 14 estimates, industry sales could reach 14.4 million units at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate. According to Autodata Corp, the May 2011 sales rate was 11.7 million.
Brian Johnson, an analyst at Barclays Plc, described the year-over-year market share gains of Japanese carmakers as "artificial," particularly because their results were dismal in 2011. Ernie Boch Jr., president of a Toyota dealership in Norwood, Mass., is optimistic that Toyota would retain its momentum as the Japanese carmaker recovers from last year’s supply problems. His dealership sold around 400 new vehicles – mostly Camrys, Corollas, Seqouias and Land Cruisers – this month.