Toyota Rallies Troops For Counter-Offensive

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
toyota rallies troops for counter offensive

Nobody (except for lawyers who desperately try to keep the fire burning) talks about Toyota SUA anymore. No ghosts were found in any machines. The matter doesn’t make the news anymore, and customer complaints suddenly dropped by 80 percent. However, the witch-hunt against GM’s Japanese nemesis, launched by GM’s owner, the U.S. government, had its effect: According to Automotive News [sub] data, Toyota’s market share in the U.S. dropped by 1.5 percent compared to September 2009. That’s a lot when you drop from 16.9 percent to 15.3 percent. Ironically, the bigger ward of the U.S. government, GM, did not pick up those sales. They lost 2.8 percent. The winners were Ford (+ 1.4 percent), and would you believe it Chrysler (+2.1 percent).

After a lot of bowing and apologizing, Toyota now goes on the counter offensive.

Toyota rallied the troops at a dealer convention in Las Vegas and handed out new marching orders. More than a thousand dealers attended.

  • Annual sales in the U.S. are supposed to reach two million units by 2013, an increase of 30 percent, The Nikkei [sub] was told by people who were at the conference.
  • Yoshi Inaba, president of the U.S. operations, showed dealers two new versions of its Prius hybrid. They will be introduced in the U.S. before the end of 2012. The new versions include a subcompact that is smaller than the current Prius hatchback and about the size of Toyota’s Yaris subcompact. The other looks like a small sport-utility vehicle and has 50 percent more interior and cargo space than the existing Prius model. A mild plug-in that will go about 13 miles on the battery before the engine kicks in, should also be available in 2012. Toyota appears to go ahead with its plans to make “Prius” a subbrand. In a separate announcement, Toyota said that cumulative global sales of the Prius hybrid went past the 2 million mark at the end of September.
  • Speaking of subbrands, Toyota told dealers that they will reviving the rather lame youth-oriented Scion brand, which will receive an injection of new product. One of them is the long-awaited production version of its FT-86 concept car, along with the already-announced Scion iQ subcompact.
  • The free two-year, 25,0000-mile scheduled maintenance program which was started as an incentive program in March, is becoming factory standard. It now applies to all future sales of Toyota and Scion models. According to Automotive News [ sub], the “Toyota Care” and “Scion Service Boost” plans will offer free factory scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. 73 percent of the customers with the support service said it improved their confidence in Toyota.

And that’s exactly what Toyota needs, regained confidence. A smear campaign can be totally unfounded, but some dirt always sticks. And it takes a long time to get rid of it. Nobody knows that better than the spinmeisters in Washington.

U.S. CAR AND LIGHT-TRUCK SALES, SEPTEMBER 2010 2010 2009 TotalTotalPointMakeShareSharechangeGeneral Motors Co.18.0%20.9%-2.8%Ford Motor Co.16.7%15.3%1.4%Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.15.3%16.9%-1.5%Chrysler Group10.4%8.3%2.1%American Honda Motor Co.10.2%10.4%-0.2%Hyundai-Kia Automotive8.0%7.1%0.9%Nissan North America7.7%7.4%0.3%Volkswagen Group of America2.9%3.3%-0.4%BMW Group2.4%2.6%-0.2%Daimler AG2.2%2.4%-0.2%Jaguar Land Rover N.A.0.4%0.4%-0.1%

Data courtesy Automotive News [sub]

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  • Mike978 Mike978 on Oct 07, 2010

    Jacob - grow up. You may hate an American owned and domiciled company like GM but remember Toyota created this issue with defective cars and or carpet mats. They changed their tune many times. Also you seem to forget that Toyota is massively helped by the Japanese government - something called currency manipulation. Look it up before you shout about the US's Government help of an large industrial company. As others have said Toyota didn`t attack GM during the bancruptcy thing because it would have backfired and Toyota needed a viable US supplier base which woul dhave imploed with GM going down in flames. Enjoy your state of the art Corolla (maybe that is the reason sales are low - a piece of crap compared to any other compact car).

  • PeriSoft PeriSoft on Oct 07, 2010

    I assume that all of you guys who are saying that government ownership of gm resulted in direct political control of the company have good, solid sources? Anyone? Bueller?

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂