Toyota to continue passenger car focus for US market

Toyota to continue passenger car focus for US market

While its American competitors are heading away from traditional body-style car models and shifting their focus on SUVs and pick-up trucks, Toyota says it will continue to ply the passenger car route because there is still a very viable market for vehicles scoped within the segment.

Toyota USA’s CEO Jim Lentz said that passenger car sales in the US market have nearly bottomed out at under 30% of overall sales in November, and he believes that is about as close to the bottom as it’ll get for the type, Associated Press reports.

Speaking at the Detroit Economic Club last week, Lentz said that consumers are still buying more than four million compact, mid-size and near-luxury cars each year. “There’s no way I’m going to walk away from that. We are always going to have a bias toward passenger cars,” he stated.

He however acknowledged that new car sales in the US for 2018 will probably be lower than that in 2010, when the financial crisis was still present. “There is a depression on the passenger car side,” he said. Passenger car sales in the US is expected to be lower by 800,000 units compared to 2017, while truck and SUV sales should climb by the same amount, according to the report.

The automaker’s own sales reflect the shift – its car sales in the US were down nearly 12% in the first 10 months of 2019, while truck and SUV sales went up by eight percent, spurred on by low fuel prices.

Despite this, Toyota will stay in that market, plying on with the likes of the Camry, new Corolla and other models such as the Avalon, 86 and the Prius. The new A90 Supra, which is set to make its debut in Detroit next month, will be added on to the company’s line-up next year.

Toyota’s stance is in contrast to that taken by rivals such as Ford and General Motors. In April, Ford had announced that it was set to phase out all its sedan and hatchback models from its product line-up for the North American market. Models that will be axed include the Fiesta, Fusion and Taurus.

Last month, General Motors said it will mirror Ford’s move to ramp up development of SUVs and pick-up trucks while pulling the plug on a number of its passenger car models, with the Chevrolet Cruze, Impala, Cadillac CT6, Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Volt hybrid all set to be axed.

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Anthony Lim

Anthony Lim believes that nothing is better than a good smoke and a car with character, with good handling aspects being top of the prize heap. Having spent more than a decade and a half with an English tabloid daily never being able to grasp the meaning of brevity or being succinct, he wags his tail furiously at the idea of waffling - in greater detail - about cars and all their intrinsic peculiarities here.

 

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