Just how worried about sales is Toyota?
Toyota has issued an unusual press release on its media page that promised better sales for the month of March. Although companies do offer stock-related warnings and updates sometimes, that isn’t what this is. This is Toyota telling someone, we are not sure who, that all is well and not to panic. We have a sneaking suspicion it is Toyota reassuring itself.
As we have duly reported in a couple of different articles, Toyota’s sales are down. That alone is not really news in a general sense. The car-buying bubble has burst, and most car makers are seeing a slow-down in either the rate of growth of their sales, or sales as simply down compared to last year. The real story here is that some very popular models that make up a big part of who and what Toyota is have tanked. Most notably the Prius.
All is not terrible. Lexus has a lot of new models and the IS and GS sports sedans have exceeded everyone’s expectations and sales are way, way up. On the Toyota side, Tundra pickup truck sales are up. However, the Tacoma is down considerably, and Chevy is about to launch a direct competitor to the Tacoma that beats its pants off on a specification sheet. We know Toyota will respond with an improved Tacoma, but it better hurry. Waiting until the Chevy Colorado hits the street may be a bad move.
Commenting on the better outlook for March Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager, said “Traffic at dealerships is picking up nationwide, which will benefit industry sales in March. At Toyota, we see retail strength in pickups and SUVs, and strong momentum for Camry.” Notably Mr. Fay did not say that the Prius is back to where it has been for some time.
Official sales for the month will be published by Toyota next week. We will cover the story as it develops.