Despite efforts to repair its image and to reassure potential buyers after the recall crisis it faced last year, Toyota Motor Corp. said that its sales in Europe continued to drop in December.
In an e-mailed statement, spokesman Etienne Plas said that sales including the Lexus brand dropped by 1.2% to 67,114 cars last month. It company sold 781,157 cars in Europe in 2010, standing for an 11% drop compared to the previous year.
Toyota's European Union market share has decreased to 4.4% from 5.6% in 2007, which was the last year that it saw its share increase in Europe.
Consumer confidence was eroded after more than 8 million Toyota cars were recalled worldwide, mostly linked to unintended acceleration.
In an attempt to attract new customers, Toyota introduced a hybrid version of the Auris in Europe in 2010. Plas said that Toyota is “confident” that sales will increase this year.
In the statement, Didier Leroy, president of Toyota Motor Europe, said that 2010 was a challenging year for both the automotive industry and for Toyota. But in the last quarter of 2010, an upward trend was observed in the customer orders. The company expects this trend to continue into 2011.