Toyota Motor Sales USA logs 4% sales plunge in February 2014

Article by Anita Panait, on March 6, 2014

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. posted a 4-percent drop in sales in February to 159,284 units, reiterating that it still led the industry in retail sales. Toyota Division, including Scion, logged a 6-percent fall in sales in the month to 140,429 units, while Lexus surged 9 percent to 18,855 sales.

"Recent economic reports indicate the unusually harsh winter had an effect on economic activity and on auto sales," said Bill Fay, Toyota Division general manager.

"We had some disruption in production and rail service, especially from our Canadian [factory] operations." He noted that their operations in Western, Mountain and Southern areas in the first two months of 2014 are a little ahead of last year. He added their drops were in areas where weather has impacted sales the most. "It will all balance itself out over the next couple months," Fay said.

Camry still led Toyota sales with 28,998 units, although it was down 7 percent. The drop was enough for fleet-popular Nissan Altima to claim the accolade as the best-selling-car in February.

Only the Toyota Corolla managed to surge in the month, by 1 percent to 25,299 units. On the truck side, Toyota logged good gains as the RAV4 grew 23 percent, Highlander was up 30 percent and 4Runner surged 17 percent.

The RAV4 and Highlander both logged best-ever February results. The Tundra, meanwhile, gained 8 percent to 7,923 units, posting its best February since 2008.

Toyota, however, saw sales of its Sienna minivan drop 20 percent. According to Fay, March usually starts a sales uptick, and Toyota will try to boost its sales with a "No. 1 for Everyone" national sales event campaign.

The brand will feature low interest rates and affordable lease payments, including a continuation of 24-month leases that commenced this year. “We're looking forward to getting this winter behind us," Fay said. "It certainly delayed some purchases, which should result in a strong spring selling season."

The new Toyota Highlander is coming with a lower roofline for enhanced aerodynamics as well as well-sculptured side-door panels. Compared to its immediate predecessor, the new Highlander is longer by around three inches and wider by half an inch. With these new dimensions, the new Highlander exudes a strong, confident yet sleek look.

On the front end, the new Highlander is defined by a bonnet that merges with a redesigned trapezoidal grille, which in turn is bordered by wraparound headlamps and deeply chiseled fenders. The full length of the Highlander’s profile – running from the front fenders to the rear quarter panels – is highlighted by sculptured wheel wells at the corners. The rear end, meanwhile, features newly designed taillights and bumper, as well as newly designed rear lift-gate with driver-selectable memory height setting and a one-touch power open/close system.

As for its body structure, the front pillars of the new Highlander will employ high-strength steel with increased rigidity. The A-pillars have been repositioned to improve visibility. The driver and passengers could enjoy a wider view thanks to the increased size of the rear quarter glass.

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