Toyota Sales Sinking Fast, Down 21.5%

toyota sales sinking fast down 21 5

To paraphrase John F. Kennedy (who probably stole the expression from someone else), a falling tide lowers all boats. Or, if you prefer, it looks like Toyota got keelhauled along with the rest of 'em this month. Automotive News [sub] also does nautical metaphorication, reporting that "Toyota Motor Corp. ran aground in June, with U.S. sales down 21.4 percent (unadjusted), the biggest drop of the year for the world's No. 2 automaker. For the first half, Toyota said it sold 1,240,086 vehicles, down 6.8 percent from the first half of 2007." ToMoCo doesn't break out their Scion sub-brand's sales, but Lexus is proving to be a luxury canary in a gold mine- or if we're unmixing metaphors, a bit of a boat anchor. Lexus' Junes sales slumped 21.1 percent vs. June '07. Truck sales? We're talking post-iceberg Titanic; down 31.1 percent. What's worse, Toyota can't build Prius-shaped lifeboats fast enough. "Sales of the Prius hybrid were down 25 percent during the month as Toyota struggled with supply problems. Dealers are reporting a two-month wait for the fuel efficient hatchback." Clearly, the U.S. market is undergoing a sea change. Toyota has the products it needs to change course, but it's hard to sell anything when people ain't buyin'.

UPDATE: Toyota just sent out a revised press release with June's sales breakout. The numbers in the press release are adjusted for selling days. The numbers used both by Automotive News and TTAC are unadjusted.

Click here for Toyota Sales Press Release

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  • KixStart KixStart on Jul 02, 2008

    Quasimondo: "Toyota has been building this generation Prius for four years. Four years it’s been a runaway success where you can not buy one without having to be placed on a waiting list and they can’t put two and two together and sacrifice a plant that can be quickly converted (so I’m told) to ramp up production in short (as in less than four years) notice?" Except, that's not so. I was up at the Toyota dealer about three months ago and they had 30 Priuses available and were dealin'. Prius sales have been rather cyclic. It strikes me as likely that it would require a proportionately bigger investment to increase capacity (not just more vehicle capacity, but also more HSD device capacity and more battery capacity), so a more conservative approach is not too surprising.

  • Davey49 Davey49 on Jul 02, 2008

    Maybe people will buy less cars but I don't see it happening in the long run. We might go down to 12 million for the next two years but I would bet on it going right back up to 16 million by 2012. The Volt and made in USA plug-in Prius will be around, plus clean diesels, B-segment cars and more hybrids will "fuel" car sales just as cars sold from 2000-2006 are finally getting long in the tooth. Funny how no one mentions the superior quality and durability of today's cars as a reason why sales are down. It's easy, anyone who has bought a car in the last 8 years still has a great car and has no reason to buy a new one.

  • Pch101 Pch101 on Jul 02, 2008
    By this measure, Honda is the more efficient automaker. By that measure, Chrysler is more efficient than Porsche. Ouch. The income statement makes it clear that Toyota is consistently more efficient than Honda, because it produces higher margins. For a dollar in revenue, Toyota will generate more earnings from that dollar than can Honda. Aside from having a large base of operations over which to amortize its fixed costs, Toyota can do that because it sells more high margin, high dollar cars. Unless you believe that the world will never have an economic recovery, it is a good thing for a mainstream auto manufacturer to have a product line that can stretch some of its parts and R&D into reaching a higher cost territory. It's great to have an umbrella shop when it's raining, but it's better to have something to sell on sunny days, which in this case are more frequent. Honda does a great job of targeting American middle-class consumers, but does a lousy job of serving the upper-middle as has Lexus. Without revamping Acura, it's pretty obvious who isn't destined to more profitable in North America over the long run. Lexus may take a hit for now, but when the recovery comes, they will be better able to exploit it.

  • Geeber Geeber on Jul 02, 2008
    John Horner: Hmmm, many of the younger people I know are surprisingly uninterested in cars and prefer to live in more urban areas in part so that they don’t have to deal with the expense and hassle of car ownership. I know people like this, but most of them are either single, or married without children. When children come along, they quickly move to the suburbs - even if it is an inner-ring suburb. I do agree that the new-vehicle market has been artificially inflated over the past 6-7 years. There are so many players seeking a piece of the market pie that they must use incentives and fleet sales to stay afloat. By the time this shakes out, I look for at least one domestic automaker to be gone, the remaining ones to shutter at least one brand each, and 1-2 foreign nameplates to simply pack up and leave, because it is no longer worth the cost of staying here.