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Toyota sales back on solid ground in US
73 per cent sales jump for Toyota helps to maintain sales momentum in America
4 Jun 2012
TOYOTA sales leaped 73 per cent in the United States last month as the Japanese giant continued its recovery from natural disasters that crippled its vehicle supply at this time last year.
The company’s 202,973 vehicle sales for the month helped the US car market to defy the prevailing dark economic mood and record overall sales growth of 13 per cent, to 1.33 million vehicles for the month.
Much of the retail action has been driven by price incentives, with major car companies loosening the purse strings to get sales as inventories rise.
Companies to join the party included market leader General Motors, which reported its highest monthly sales in 33 months – up 11 per cent to 245,256 units – and third-placed Ford, which recorded a 13 per cent jump over May 2011, to 215,699 vehicles.
Chrysler Group continued its climb back from chapter 11 bankruptcy to deliver 150,041 vehicles – up 30 per cent on the same month last year – in its best May performance for five years.
The biggest gains were made by the Japanese companies, whose sales had stalled at this time last year in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Japan in March 2011.
The natural disaster not only crippled vehicle production in Japan but impacted many overseas plants, including those in North America, due to parts shortages.
Later in 2011, the problem was compounded by the Thai floods, which also damaged the parts supply chain.
From top: US spec Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic sedans.
Now, with all those problems behind them, the Japanese companies have come back with a vengeance globally.
Toyota was helped by strong result for its new Camry, sales of which soared 94 per cent year on year, to 39,571 units, making it America’s most popular passenger car.
The Corolla also rebounded 73 per cent, to 31,847 vehicles, while sales of the RAV4 compact SUV more than doubled, to 19,248 units.
Another Japanese manufacturer to make big gains last month was Honda, whose sales jumped 48 per cent to 133,997 units for the month.
This growth was helped by the company’s new Civic, which eclipsed the Toyota Corolla to become the top-selling small car in America, with more than 33,000 sales.
Despite the recovery by the Japanese companies, GM remains number one in the US, with all of its brands except Cadillac recording year-on-year improvement.
GM’s US sales operations vice-president, Don Johnson, said the company’s May sales were the highest in almost three years.
“We are poised to keep delivering good news for the US economy with one of the most aggressive new product offenses in our history,” he said.
“About 70 per cent of our nameplates will be new or freshened over the course of 2012 and 2013, and that positions us very well as the industry and GM start to approach pre-recession sales levels.”
GM came back from a small sales dip in April to get its 2012 performance back on track in May. Its 245,256 sales for the month brought GM’s year-to-date sales to 1,066,963 – up 2.0 per cent on the five-month tally in 2011.
Led by a 21 per cent improvement in light-truck sales, Ford posted a 13 per cent May increase, with its 208,993 sales taking the company’s 2012 sales count to 901,446 – up 6.8 per cent on the same period last year.
Ford’s evergreen F-Series pick-up was again America’s top-selling vehicle, its 54,836 units accounting for more than a quarter of Blue Oval sales for the month.
Among the other players in the US market, Nissan reported a 21 per cent sales lift to 91,794 vehicles, Hyundai volume was up 13 per cent to 67,019, Volkswagen sales rose 24 per cent to 50,356, Mazda sales were up 14 per cent to 20,357, and Subaru sales increased some 48 per cent to 29,724 units.
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