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Record run has Toyota scratching for stock

On a charge: Toyota’s Camry finished 2012 on a high with 3586 sales in December – its best single month for almost 18 years.

Toyota runs lean on some models as December sales deluge cleans out dealers

7 Jan 2013

TOYOTA Australia is expecting a temporary new year sales hangover after draining stocks of many popular models in a record December for the market leader.

The company pulled out all stops in the final quarter of 2012, using weapons such as zero per cent finance to pile up the sales, culminating in a December record 21,169 registrations.

The locally made four-cylinder Camry notched up its third-biggest monthly sales tally on record in December, with 3586 buyers signing on the dotted line – its best monthly effort since January 1995.

It was also the third month in a row that Camry topped 3000 units, bringing its fourth-quarter sales tally to more than 10,000 units and annual sales to 27,230 – up 42 per cent on the previous year when the Camry was in run-out.

Toyota has put zero finance back in the holster for now, mainly because the company promised car buyers that the campaign would end on December 31, but also because stock of 2012 Camry is so depleted.

Dealers have to wait until the company’s Australian factory at Altona, in Victoria, gets back into full swing after the summer shut-down this month before certain Camry variants can flow into showrooms.

A number of other Toyota models that have been firing on all cylinders, including the all-new Corolla and best-selling HiLux ute, are also in short supply, meaning Toyota will find it difficult to meet its usual fast-start targets for January.

8 center imageLeft: Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Matthew Callachor.

Toyota Australia senior executive director sales and marketing Matthew Callachor told GoAuto: “We are a bit low on stock right at this moment, but we have good supply coming.

“That will pick up quite quickly as we move in through this first quarter.”

Nevertheless, Toyota is offering cut-price 2.9 per cent finance as part of incentive packages on some models to keep the sales flowing.

“It is packaged together with a number of other components that weren’t there under the zero per cent,” said Mr Callachor.

“So it is an entire peace-of-mind package, and we think that will be quite appealing to people to take into a different avenue.”

Toyota’s 218,176 sales in 2012 represented a 20 per cent increase over 2011, when natural disasters in Japan and Thailand constrained supply.

It seized market leadership in eight segments, while maintaining overall market leadership for the 10th straight year.

In 2013, Toyota will add the all-new RAV4 SUV to its arsenal in February, meaning it will have replaced or refreshed all its top-sellers in 18 months.

Mr Callachor expects HiLux to remain Toyota’s top-seller over the next 12 months, around the same 40,000 sales as 2012.

“Corolla won’t be far behind, say 35,000 this year, and so it will be a battle between those two vehicles,” he said.

Mr Callachor said that, despite the big push on Camry in 2012, he expected the locally made car to press on in 2013.

“This month and next we are going to be a little tight on supply, to get the sheer numbers, but as we build order banks and continue merchandising and as the vehicle gets a full year of sales behind it, I think it has a pretty good future,” he said.

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