Toyota Motor Corp. predicts that its light vehicle sales in the US will increase by up to 13% next year, according to Bob Carter, sales chief for the Toyota brand in the US. Carter pointed out several factors that will influence this increase, including a slight increase in sales of pickup trucks.
Toyota anticipates industry sales in 2011 to range from 12.5 million to 12.9 million, a marked increase from this year's expected rate of 11.4 million to 11.5 million. At the Reuters Global Autos Summit in Los Angeles last Monday, Carter said that low consumer confidence continues to drag down the market.
He said that buyers have become more cautious about taking on debt. US sales suffered a low of 10.4 million new cars and trucks sold in 2009. But for a 10-year period before that, annual sales averaged 16.4 million vehicles.
Carter is optimistic though that the outlook of Toyota in the US is looking up as it recovers from the recall crisis that started a year ago, resulting to its biggest drop in sales from March to May.
According to Autodata figures through October, Toyota's US sales are nearly flat while the US market is up nearly 11%. In the last 12 months, Toyota recalled over 15 million vehicles worldwide, about 11 million of which were in the US, Toyota’s top market.
Carter said that before the recall, about 55% of Toyota new-vehicle buyers were new or returning to the brand. But from March to May, this figure fell to “the low 40s.” [via autonews - sub. required]