Toyota hikes 2012 forecast for US car sales, light trucks to 14 million

Article by Anita Panait, on April 7, 2012

Toyota Motor Corp. improved its forecast for industry-wide U.S. sales of cars and light trucks in 2012, saying that increasing consumer confidence was a major factor. According to Toyota, the whole industry will sell between low- to mid-14 million cars and light trucks in 2012, from a previous forecast of around 13.6 million.

 According to Bob Carter, Toyota's group vice president for U.S. sales, the improvements in consumer confidence, along with other factors like rising pump prices and aging vehicles, have prompted the market to move “quicker than anyone thought.” Figures show that the auto industry posted a 13% growth in sales of US light vehicles for the first three months of 2012 to 3.47 million.

Toyota’s forecast change follows a similar statement recently released by Ford Motor Co. According to Ford, the industry is expected to post between 14.5 million to 15 million of total US vehicle sales, including medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The Michigan-based carmaker previously forecasted that the industry would be able to dispose between 13.5 million to 14.5 million vehicles in the US.

According to Carter, one of the reasons that people are buying new cars is because of the rising pump prices. People who want to save money on fuel have to abandon their older fuel-thirsty vehicles in exchange for more fuel-efficient models. Toyota aims to improve its US sales in 2012 after dipping 6.7 percent in 2012. The company’s slide last year was mainly attributed to the natural disasters in Japan and Thailand, which tighten supplies of parts and assembled vehicles in 2011.

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