Toyota Punts 3% Sales Growth for '08 Prediction

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

The [literally] rivet counting debate over whether or not one should include the Scion brand in Toyota's sales totals– to determine whether or not Toyota's overtaken Ford as America's top automotive brand– seems to have sailed straight over the media's head. In the hangover morning after December's dismal new car sales results, the mainstream press has pronounced Toyota the new champ. The news ain't all good for ToMoCo. Reality has forced them to rein-in their previous '08 throw-down, where they predicted a three percent sales growth for '08. The Wall Street Journal reports that company spokesman Irv Miller told some industry types that a "confluence of factors," including a widespread credit crunch, high gasoline prices, a housing downturn and "critically fragile consumer confidence" has forced his employer to revise the number downwards. The Japanese automaker says it's now looking at a one to two percent gain for the year. Echoing GM's spinmeisters, contradicting most every gainfully employed financial analyst, Miller reckons sales will rebound in the second half of '08. Meanwhile, the Houston Chronicle says sales of Toyota's Texas-built Tundra fell short of the company's 200k target by 3,445 trucks. "Like the rest of the industry, the full-size pickup segment saw its fair share of challenges in 2007," said Toyota brand manager Bob Carter. Hell boy, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Umterp85 Umterp85 on Jan 05, 2008

    StevenLang: "Toyota has issues with this. They will need to address it. If they don’t address the current issues that many Scion AND Toyota buyers have with the excessive heft and numb handling within the next few years, they will lose a lot of valuable and once loyal customers" Could not agree more. As I have said---Toyota is trading more on goodwill than superior product. At some point this will catch up with them if they don't address it. Unlike GM & Ford who pushed out crap for years because they had little competitive incentive not to-----Toyota has alot of competitors waiting in the wings to eat their lunch if they continue to produce uninspiring cars.

  • Casper00 Casper00 on Jan 05, 2008

    Steven Lang: Remember during those time Toyota was pretty new to the US market, american were still use to the domestic vehicle. During those time toyota was experimenting, and you are correct cars like the paseo, tercel, mr2 and supra didn't do as well but toyota found out what the people wanted. You see the difference here Toyota give the consumers what they want, GM, Ford and Chrysler is relaying on loyalist to keep buying their vehicles with out giving them what they want. So back to the article seems like every year toyota makes a small improvement to the tundra whether it's horsepower, torque or design, it will win the consumers over.

  • RobertSD RobertSD on Jan 06, 2008

    casper - Your claim that the Big 2.5 are relying on their loyalists to offload vehicles that consumers don't want is a very unfounded claim at this point. The conquest rates for the Edge and Fusion as two examples have been over 40%. The CTS is about 50%. There are, in fact, products that people want. Just because you do not want them (or are blinded by dislike of the makes in general) does not mean that Ford and GM (I'll leave Chrysler out of this) don't make products that many people do want. And yes, they rely on probably 75-80% of their overall sales going to loyalists. However, just like Ford and GM, Toyota is relying on loyalists for the bulk of their volume in most of their line-up. Do you honestly think the Corolla offers anything that would convince someone to choose it over a Civic - or even an Elantra? Not the new Focus either (unless you don't like the car's looks, myself included). The 2009 Corolla will retain its basic shape, a 12 year old platform, a 4-speed automatic and rear drum brakes - things Ford was derided for with the new Focus, but which I'm sure we'll claim is Toyota building what people want. No, Toyota, in my opinion, despite their rhetoric of continual improvement and cars that people want is coasting on loyalty and goodwill right now. And it will run out, especially now that the marketplace is far more competitive than we've ever seen it.

  • GS650G GS650G on Jan 07, 2008
    I do not believe Toyota can differentiate on these qualities anymore and the brand is now chugging primarily on years of goodwill that has translated into loyalty (it certainly isn’t on styling, performance, or materials quality) This is my case,, I looked at their cars for the first time when I was in the market. I did not have the Toyota complex going for me, I saw them for what they are and that is a decent car but not especially great in any one area. ultimately I did not car for the look or feel of the cars. I realize I sacrificed great resale and all that but we should buy cars we like and can afford. I didn't like their cars and they were more expensive