Hybrid sales go up 30% at Toyota and Lexus

The news out of Torrance, Calif., is all good entering the Christmas rush as Toyota and Lexus report serious boosts in the popularity of select vehicles, and hybrids. The two car companies saw hybrid sales rise across the board by more than 30% in November.

One heavy hitter for the Japanese carmaker is the 2012 Toyota Yaris sedan and the all-new 2012 liftback, whose sales sailed upward 149.8% in November compared with last year.

Another star: The Prius family of hybrids. Toyota moved 15,208 units out the door, 42.8% more than the same period last year.

"Our sales performance this month is a testament to the strength of our new products," said Bob Carter, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager of Toyota Motor Sales. "The Prius family also had a big month, as the new Prius v was the fastest-turning car in our lineup.

"As the automotive retail market continues to improve, we believe we're in an excellent position. In addition to the four new models we have already introduced this year, we'll benefit from the biggest influx of new and updated products in our history during 2012."

Overall, the Lexus luxury division and Toyota division both reported 6.7% sales hikes vs. November 2010, and parent Toyota Motor Sales' overall numbers are up by 2.4%. Profits were sapped by a 9.8% drop in Toyota truck sales, and a poor showing by Scion, which lagged.

Sales plunged 11% at Scion as only 3,553 of its avant-garde cars were sold in November. The tC sports coupe continues to be popular, accounting for nearly half of Scion's sales. The xD was Scion's bowser, with only 773 cars sold.

Here's the big picture: Toyota moved 66,108 cars out of the showroom to Americans, up 14.7% over a year ago. And the 2012 Toyota Camry (pictured) and Camry Hybrid comprised 23,440 of that total. Camry sales ratcheted up 8.5% in November.

"Camry's momentum continued ... (and) Camry Hybrid, which arrived in dealerships last month, has been very well received by customers and we expect it to play a much larger role than in past years," Carter told reporters.

Including trucks, Toyota sold 137,960 units in November. The 2012 Toyota RAV4 was the best-selling truck (11,330 units). Another bright spot: The Tacoma midsize pickup's sales rose 8.5% (9,739 trucks sold).

Lexus's cars were popular with a 10.1% increase over last year (10,537 units), but a 5.4% drop in Lexus truck sales tempered the luxury marque's overall growth. Buyers liked the 2012 Lexus ES 350 best, boosting sales of the entry-level luxury sedan by 11.6%.

Since sales are on the upswing, it comes as no surprise that Toyota, Lexus and Scion thrived in the 2011 J.D. Power and Associates Sales Satisfaction Index study. The company issued this statement after results were announced:

We are pleased with the improvement off all three of our brands in the 2011 J.D. Power and Associates Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) study. The Lexus brand improved its score over last year and ranked as the top premium nameplate. Both Toyota and Scion showed significant improvement and each placed higher in the rankings and above the industry average.

Credit must go to our dealer body for their investment in upgrading many of their facilities and their dedication to satisfying their customers.

Sales satisfaction is more important than ever and we will continue work with our dealers to find ways to increase the quality of the sales experience for all of our customers.

Reach TN's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @HawkeFracassa.

Image source: 2012 Toyota Camry SE image courtesy Toyota

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