Some people (like about half of the nation) are convinced the Government has a conflict of interest when it comes to Toyota. Many believe there is a witchhunt against Toyota by a government, and by unions that want GM’s major competitor bleed money and market share before the big GM IPO. 25 percent believe the criticism stems from an outright desire to help GM, while 38 percent disagree and 37 percent aren’t sure. Whatever the reason may be, Toyota is beginning to show battle fatigue.
The Wall Street Journal found a forecast that says that Toyota’s July sales will be shown with a minus in front when they are published on Monday, “while nearly every other car company’s sales are up.” Jesse Toprak, an analyst with TrueCar, says that “Toyota is going to be the only major auto maker to post a sales decline in July.”
Toprak’s crystal ball sees Toyota down by 4.4 percent in July, while Honda will be up 4 percent, Ford should increase 8.4 percent, and GM a whopping 23 percent. Toprak thinks by the end of the year, Toyota’s U.S. market could be less than16 percent.
According to the WSJ, it’s Toyota’s own fault:
In a way it was market share, or Toyota’s obsession with it, that got the car maker into so much trouble. For decades Toyota built a reputation as a maker of dependable, well-built vehicles that rarely had problems. But in the past decade the company shifted its attention to gaining market share. As Toyota ramped up production to support increased sales volume, it may have sacrificed quality. Does this sound familiar? It is the same flawed strategy that had the Detroit Three looking like endangered species a year or so ago.
A little smear campaign also helps. Says the WSJ:
The bad news for Toyota is the advantage of perceived quality it had over nearly every rival car brand is gone. And with competitors making better vehicles than ever, it may never regain its lead.
There are at least 76,750 Americans who think that was the whole idea – if statistics can be believed.