Toyota And Europe: An Unrequited Love

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan
toyota and europe an unrequited love

Despite what you think of Toyota, it’s a company you should respect. They brought reliability to cars when others couldn’t. They popularised lean manufacturing techniques that others are still trying to copy. And they introduced green technologies at a time when petrol was cheap and still made a success of it. In short, when Toyota put their mind to it, they can make a good success of just about anything… except for the European market. For some reason, Toyota cannot make in-roads in the European sales no matter how hard they try, and the latest set of data suggests that that trend is continuing. reports that in Toyota’s European division’s sales for 2009, Toyota branded vehicles dropped 20%, year on year, while Lexus branded vehicles dropped 40%. Over all of their plants in Europe (France, The Czech Republic, Turkey, Poland and the United Kingdom) production fell 26% on cars, 34% on engines and 5% on transmissions. The only bright spots (and I use that term in its broadest definition) were the Toyota Yaris (built in France) which dropped “only” 10% and the Toyota Prius which grew 3%. The head of the European division was trying to stay optimistic. “Looking forward to 2010, we expect a more predictable market in Europe, with an industry slightly below this year’s level”, said Toyota Motor Europe president and CEO Tadashi Arashima. “However, we predict a positive development of our market share. We saw clear signs for this upward trend already in the fourth quarter of 2009 when we started to benefit from our renewed model line-up, especially in the private car market. Furthermore, enhanced product offers in the important mainstream and premium C-segments will support our sales in the coming years, with the introduction of the Europe-built Auris HSD and a brand new Lexus hybrid model, two industry firsts in these strategic segments.”

Toyota are putting a lot of emphasis on hybrid technology to come to their rescue. However, don’t forget that diesel is also big in Europe and with Volkswagen pushing their Bluemotion cars, Daimler with BlueTec and Ford’s Econetic range; not to mention Nissan’s Leaf and Renault’s electric fleet, Toyota better prepare itself for war. With 2 competitors who shouldn’t be there (Vauxhall/Opel and Chrysler) every piece of the pie is that much more valuable.

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  • Nutella Nutella on Jan 19, 2010

    I still think that residuals on Toyota are inferior to the leaders (german brands mostly), the lack of of competitiveness of their diesel engines ( more tax, based on larger engines with the japs). The handling is also a n issue: few Japanese cars are as good as european ones on the many narrow and windy roads of Europe. Style is an issue: blandness doesn't help in style conscious europe.

  • MadHungarian MadHungarian on Jan 20, 2010

    Is that a wagon? A real wagon, not a Venza monstrosity? Hey Toyota, if the Yurrupeens won't buy it, why don't you try it out on us? Please? Pretty please?

  • Master Baiter I'll wait for the actual driving reviews. User interface quality and range are big question marks.
  • Jeff S Years ago Kentucky issued a license plate with a horse running with the words "Unbridled Spirit." The religious right objected and did not want the plate because they believed it encouraged people to go to the race track and bet on horses. Anyone who knows anything about Kentucky knows its famous for raising horses and yes there is Churchill Downs where the Kentucky Derby is run but horses in themselves are not sinful. It got so bad that the state issued a blank sticker to put over the horse and the logo. Kentucky also issued a plate for those who were offended stating "In God We Trust." The latest KY plate has no logo and nothing. I always picked the horse because I thought horses were something to be proud of and associated with Kentucky.
  • Old Scold As a Marylander, I got those plates assigned to me when I purchased my car in 2016, 4 years after the so-called anniversary. I figured they were using up NOS, and it never occurred to me to check out the URL. I still don't care. It's a stupid issue, but I have my tag number memorized should I need it.
  • Hpycamper I drive a car with automatic braking and have nothing good to say about it. It has activated going around corners on mountain roads when the hillside is close to the road, when lawn sprinklers turned on and sprayed the car, and driving past cars on the shoulder that are making right turns. Luckily these phantom brake activations have not caused a wreck. The systems are just too dumb.
  • SCE to AUX How long until that $90k yields a profit for my grandchildren?