By on February 27, 2010

Toyota may record “a double-digit drop in the automaker’s U.S. sales for February,” says The Nikkei [sub] today. The Nikkei bolsters the assessment with interviews at dealerships in the U.S.A., but knowing the Nikkei, a sales droid in northern California is not their only source.

The Nikkei notes that “Toyota was the only major automaker to suffer a double-digit sales decline in the U.S. last month. Its sales were down 15.8 percent from a year earlier, compared with the 24.4 percent and 14.6 percent growth enjoyed by Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co..”

A continuation of this trend would be extremely dangerous for Toyota. We are comparing with the absolutely worst times of carmageddon, and if you are double digits below carmageddon, you roast in hell.

Edmunds also reckons that Toyota’s U.S. sales will likely decline around 10 percent on the year in February.

Just in case there is the often cited hidden agenda behind the Toyota witchhunt, it backfires. Out of the roughly 1.8m vehicles sold by all Toyota division in the U.S.A. in 2009, 1.1m are made domestically, only 0.6m are imports. (Data as per Automotive News [sub])

Furthermore, “South Korean firm Hyundai Motor Co. appears to be benefiting from Toyota’s recall woes,” says the Nikkei. According to the same Automotive News data, Hyundai imported more cars in 2009 than made domestically. Where did  “create more jobs at home” go? Likewise to hell.

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35 Comments on “Toyota USA Sales Going To Hell...”

  • avatar
    Billy Bobb 2

    “We’ve got over 500 inspected and repaired 2010 Toyota’s…and we’re ready to deal!”

    Actual radio commercial. Enticing? Sure! For Hyundai, Kia, Subaru, etc. dealers.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s funny. Maybe they should add “Our Toyotas are guaranteed not to kill anyone!” or “If you can find a less dangerous car, buy it!”.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m seriously expecting at least one dealer to issue an insurance policy with each new Toyota that provides a payout in the event of proven, documented SUA…and said policy will contain more loopholes and limitations than you could possibly imagine.

  • avatar

    Toyota is bound to lose sales. Between the very poor manner in which they handled the recalls and the various problems in addition to SUA (Corolla steering, Prius brakes) any consumer half aware of their problems has legitimate reason to buy elsewhere.

    Toyoda himself admitting Toyota lost its way as its volumes grew isn’t exactly a reason for consumer confidence in the brand either.

    Whether this damage will have any lasting effect remains to be seen but for the present it comes as no surprise their sales are way down.

  • avatar

    TTAC had The BIG3 on “DEATHWATCH”

    Therefore, you should now have TOYOTA on “SEPPUKU Watch”

  • avatar

    If Toyota makes something you like, this would a great time to get one at a bargain price.

    • 0 avatar
      the duke

      They don’t. As an enthusiast, I find their whole line-up soul-less. When your cars have no soul, you have to sell on safety and reliability. If you have no soul and gain a reputation for questionable safety and reliability, then you don’t sell cars at all.

    • 0 avatar

      I need the GS450h to have about a 20% incentive for it to fall into my price range.

      I’m going to need a few more recalls.

    • 0 avatar

      They don’t make anything I would buy either. In fact I think Toyota’s quality has visibly declined the past few years or longer just looking at (and inside) their cars. Workmanship and trim isn’t what it was in the late 1990s and early part of this decade. Styling has gone to Hell as well. If you prefer Asian cars Hyundai is looking better and better. Ford and GM both make vehicles I would purchase as well.

  • avatar

    Despite TTAC and others efforts to smear the Domestics with Toyota’s UA brush, I think this mess may be very beneficial to Ford in getting their quality message heard by the buying public.

    I have not seen Ford making their previous claim of being equal to Toyota and Honda in quality, which now would not be a good thing to claim. Once they figure out a replacement quality message, it will probably be heard better by the public.

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      This is unfirm ground. and Ford and the rest know it.

      It would have to be a very carefully prepared campaign, if it’s being designed to have Ford leverage Toyota’s current troubles. Otherwise, it becomes “The Firestone tires are history, and our cruise control modules no longer burn down your house, so buy Ford!”.

    • 0 avatar

      Ford’s current TV spots state “quality that Toyota and Honda can’t match”

    • 0 avatar

      I had not heard that message as yet. It sounds safe. ie. Not overdoing the focus on Toyota’s problems, kept it similar to the previous message, compares Ford to both Toyota and Honda as before.

  • avatar

    I have a Toyota plant just 6 miles up the road. This is certainly going to be bad for my area in rural WV because we literally have nothing else on the scale of Toyota in this area. It’s going to hurt everything… the quantity of well paying jobs in the area, Toyota’s investment in local labor for new projects, and even home values.

    The real key will be the sales level in September. If Toyota is level on year over year, they will be OK. If their sales stay at this level in NA at that point, there is going to be a load of worry for 200,000 americans.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    The attention being paid to Toyota’s recall woes has nothing to do with trade wars and everything to do with Toyota’s bungled response to issues and complaints over a period of years.

  • avatar

    Bloomberg story explaining how it all happened:

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks for the link 97escort. It was very informative.

    • 0 avatar

      +1. “Construction of Cost Competitiveness in the 21st Century” (CCC21) and “Value Innovation” both sound more like “Let’s follow GM’s business model and cheapen the shit out of our vehicles for short-term profits”.

      In a scant ten years, the results of such an ill-advised approach are now coming to fruition.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    As an enthusiast, I find their whole line-up soul-less.

    Agreed. The only Toyota products that have intriqued me in the past 5-6 years are the Prius and GS. Once the MR-2 left the stage, there was nothing sporty and affordable. Well, with the exception of the new Sienna SE (haha).

    I know it’s been said before, but perhaps the apex of quality was the 1992 Camry – it was over engineered since Toyota was fleshing out their direction for Lexus. Shared components, etc. A tremendous book I read about the redesign of the Gen2 Taurus mentioned that at the beginning of the redesign the target was the ’88 Accord; mid-development Ford realized there was a disconnect because the ’92 Camry took the playing field to a whole new level.

    I have to agree with the Hyundai comments – it’s amazing how they’ve turned their game around in only 9-10 years. Astounding.

  • avatar

    Good pointer 97escort. Thanks.
    I wonder how much Mulally has been pumping Jim Farley for inside info on Toyota’s shenanigans during his time there.

  • avatar

    I do have to agree with comments about Toyotas not being very “interesting” from an enthusiast’s perspective. I can appreciate the Prius but I don’t lust for one. I rented a Corolla a couple of months ago and was wholeheartedly undewhelmed. I think the Tacoma still rules the small/mid-size truck market and it seems well designed for that shoppers in this class want, but it’s also a segment that has essentially been ceded by everyone else. Even the Scion xB which once managed to combine funky styling with a great amount of functionality and excellent fuel economy just totally missed the point ith the newest generation.

    I recently ran across a box of old car magazines from the early 1980s. One issue of Road & Track from 1984 has a cool write-up on the old rwd Corolla GT-S hatchback which came out at a time that DOHC 4-valve engines were still rare enough to garner extra attention. By today’s standards it would be a bit slow but I for one would be all over a reasonably-priced light-weight rear-wheel-drive 4-cylinder car with decent styling if someone chose to make it. However, Toyota doesn’t even offer a front-wheel-drive car that is the least bit interesting.

    I am curious if these sales issues are also hitting Lexus? Is this sales data exclusive to the Toyota brand? Do most Americans even associate Lexus and Toyota? Is Lexus hit any harder than any other luxury nameplate this year?

    • 0 avatar
      Uncle Mellow

      I presume you guys know about the recently previewed “Toyaburu” FT-86 that Toyota plan to launch in 2011/2012? A cute little coupe with front-mounted Subaru flat-four driving the rear wheels.Subaru will do their own version. Supposedly inspired by that 80’s “Corolla” GT.

    • 0 avatar

      Uncle Mellow,
      Most know of the FT-86, but till it shows up and people can drive it, I wouldn’t say it change anything. It does look good, lets see how it drives.

  • avatar

    Isn’t this drop in sales at least partially due to Toyota stopping sales of most models as they tried to figure out what was going on with SUA? Have they restarted sales yet?

  • avatar

    Toyota hasn’t built a fun car since the Supra or even the Celica. Soul less for sure. Bunch of Camry yawn-models and nondescript homogenized me-too mobiles. Sad. I once loved the Toyota line. Sporty, fun and safe. Now nothing makes sense. It’s what happens when car execs get comfortable and negligent. Will take a while before they rally. Might want to read up on the Audi issues back in the 80’s. Except Audi was a niche line back in the day, while Toyota made their hay in volume. Good luck with all that.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    BTW, Toyota should stop with their insipid mea culpa television ads straight away. Have they learned nothing from the complete failure of we screwed up, we are sorry, try us again ads when GM ran them?

    • 0 avatar

      John, you are so right. They might as well just keep saying, “Remember us? We screwed up. We are so sorry we screwed up. Please don’t forget that we screwed up but we’re really sorry.” That is a prescription for how to drive customers to any of the 400 other models available for sale in the US that don’t have a cloud over them.

      They need to actually find the problem and announce they fixed it. Failing that, they just need to offer incentives. Americans will forgive anything for a deal.

    • 0 avatar

      Have they learned nothing from the complete failure of we screwed up, we are sorry, try us again ads when GM ran them?

      GM never, ever said “We’re sorry”. “We’re different now” is about as close as it got, but never “We’re sorry”. “Sorry” implies responsibility.

      Toyota, which is still at the top or leading most objective rankings, saw problems that affected less than one-thousandth of a percent of it’s sold vehicles over a period of five to seven years. GM’s problems affected, at times, up to a quarter of the products it built in a given year and went on for a quarter century, during which they were only saved from the bottom of the barrel in rankings by Chrysler and the Europeans.

      And yet they eventually said they’re sorry. Is GM sorry for the Northstar, Dex-cool or the X-cars yet?

    • 0 avatar

      I think if you look at how many vehicles could be effected by the problem and not are effected by the problem would be a better way to look at this. Take Dex-cool for example, it didn’t effect every car that it was in, but the ones it did effect, it effected badly. But, some vehicles didn’t have the same problems as others.

      The SUA problem has X amount of reports, but that doesn’t mean that every Camry couldn’t have the problem, or ever ES for that matter. That is the way this should be looked at, especially considering the numbers vs. the competition in the other threads.

  • avatar

    As a long time Toyota owner this recall doesn’t bother me. I took my wife’s 08 Camry SE in for the recall and was treated quite well.
    If you read the review on TTAC on the Camry SE you will find it is quite different than others. My 08 4Runner SE is basically just a tool that I use for hunting,towing my boat and utility trailer and has been flawless in it’s duties,just like the rest of the Toyotas that I have owned or leased for the last 15yrs.

  • avatar

    Hell of a deal for buyers.
    Toyota will fix.

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