Toyota Down 9.4 Percent for August
When a big storm comes, even the best-prepared boats get knocked around. But while the Big 2.8 take on water like a sieve, Toyota has managed to gain market share by simply avoiding double-digit losses. Unsurprisingly ToMoCo’s trucks are doing worst, dropping 17.6 percent but improving over July’s dismal performance. On the car front, the Yaris is booming with 20 percent higher sales than last August, and Camry is up 3.3 percent. But sagging Corolla sales drag Toyota’s overall car sales down 3.4 percent from a year ago. Scion’s skid has leveled off, recording almost exactly as many sales as in July. Lexus follows the ToMoCo trend of hybrids up, everything else down, with a 9.8 percent decrease in cars and a 7.8 decrease in trucks sold in August. Between its brands, Toyota now sells nearly twice as many hybrids as it does Scions, with 19,529 sold in August and 185,051 sold on the year to date. The only way to boost sales there is to increase production. Again. Still.
I'm really surprised by the poor performance of the Corolla. It's added a lot of features, still gets good fuel economy (I'm getting 35 mpg in mixed driving), roomier than a Yaris sedan, and smaller than a Camry (which is important to me, since the new Camrys are much bigger than what I need). It's still not a barn-burner in looks (I grant that the Civic is more interesting to behold, as is the Mazda Mazda3), but it certainly is more stylish than the previous model, particularly in S trim. Even my mother, who's owned several Camrys, is considering a Corolla as her next car, because it has all of what she needs in terms of equipment and space, for a smaller, lighter, cheaper package than a Camry. I grant it's not hugely exciting, but it's got enough for a lot of people; why this generation would perform so much worse is odd as hell. I hate to sound insane for suggesting that Toyota needs another sedan, but I think the Scion family could do well with a sedan of some sort. I'd love to see them bring the Avensis sedan and mini-MPV/wagon thing over to the US, give it a sport appearance package, tuned suspension, and mod-ready interior, and plot that down on the Scion showroom floor as the Scion xE, or tS, or something. One other interesting note: this month, the Camry came out with better sales than the Ford F-Series, with the Accord beating the latter, too. That doesn't happen all that often.
I finally saw a new Corolla in the metal last night, and my reaction was, "Jesus, it's as big as the early-90s Camry." I think the dilemma the Corolla may face at this point is that the four-door Yaris comes awfully close in size and packaging to the old Corolla, for less money -- thereby inheriting the Corolla's niche as appliance-like transportation unit.
My dad bought a new Corolla just a couple months ago. He loves the gas mileage and has practically turned into a hypermiler. He kept harping on my brother to slow down on a recent trip. Kind of funny, as my brother is 46! Anyway, the car is pretty impressive, except for a plastic filled interior reaping of cost-cutting. But his last car was an Intrepid, so he didn't even notice. He got it for invoice plus 0% financing. I can't figure out why Toyota is having trouble selling these, and yet my Honda dealer has only 1 Civic left on the lot (a Hybrid loaded with dealer add-ons).
Guys, I hate to say it but the two new cars that I recommended for folks in my community were...... the Toyota Corolla and Kia Optima. The Corolla is now the same size as the 1992 - 1996 Camry while offering real-world MPG in the low to mid-30's. For the overwhelming majority of people who don't give a hoot about 'sportiness' and want 150+k trouble-free miles in a family car, it's still a gold standard. The Optima is selling at a real world price right around the Corolla. It's a discounted Sonata that represents a reasonable offering for those who don't want hybrid technology or a non-warranty anytime in their ownership experience. In four cylinder trim it's a surprisingly good value.... for the non-enthusiast.