David And Goliath: A Comparison Of Nissan And Toyota

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
david and goliath a comparison of nissan and toyota

Japan’s largest and second largest automakers are worlds apart. Last year, Nissan made less than half of the cars the world’s number one, Toyota produced. Looking at the February results of both, we see a Goliath that is slowing down and a David that is revving up mightily. What’s more, we see a Goliath that is heavily exposed to the destruction in Japan, and a David that had moved most of his production abroad, well before the Flood. Let’s compare David and Goliath.

This comparison is based on February 2011 production and sales data emailed to TTAC today by Toyota and Nissan. The Toyota press release is available here. The Nissan press release is available here. For Toyota, we will be using the Toyota Motor Corp group data, including Daihatsu and Hino. If no time period is given, the data refer to February 2011. A month does not a year make. However, this February probably was the last “normal” month you will see in the Japanese car industry for a while. Let’s see how the two embark on the road to the great unknown.

In February, Toyota’s worldwide production fell 2.5 percent to 761,248 units. Nissan’s global production increased 21.7 percent to 350,093 units, an all-time record for the month of February.

Japanese production was down for both, reflecting the double-digit contraction of the Japanese domestic market. Toyota’s Japanese production dropped 7.4 percent to 349,900 units. Nissan’s production in Japan decreased 3.8 percent to 93,432 units.

Exports from Japan rose 5.3 percent to 170,075 units for Toyota, first increase in two months . Nissan’s exports in February increased 7.8 percent to 54,215 units. Nissan’s exports to North America increased 41.5 percent, to Europe 51.8 percent.

Here is probably the most important metric at the moment and in the following months when all manufacturers, and especially the Japanese are trying to come to grips with the disaster in Miyagi:

Toyota has 49 percent of its global production of 716,248 units in Japan, 51 percent of the production is overseas. Nissan has 27 percent of its global production of 350,093 units in Japan, 73 percent is overseas. Neither of them will escape the Japanese parts paralysis unscathed. At least on a spreadsheet, Nissan is in a better position that its Goliath rival. As always, the devil is in the details.

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  • DaveA DaveA on Mar 25, 2011

    I would sort of agree with Vanilla actually. I have pondered this myself. It seems as if Toyota has picked up what GM used to be (at least figuratively), but of course with much better built yet boring cars too. Here in W. CO. a lot of old folks (both old hippies and rednecks) drive Toyota trucks and cars (I have seen an NRA sticker on a Prius). But Nissan seem to compete more with the VW crowd in sedans, but yet competes with Toyota, GM, and Ford in trucks and SUV's.

  • BlackPope808 BlackPope808 on Mar 26, 2011

    Production may be overseas, but there is an unwritten,heavily spoken piece of advice that even the local Toyota monopoly salespeople tell their customers...DON'T BUY THE CAMRY THAT WAS MADE IN THE US...LOOK FOR THE "J" THAT STARTS THE VIN...the horror stories of ill fitting doors on Camry SE's made in Kentucky...my own experience with my 2011 Sienna SE which has an interior that would be more fitting in a Yugo than a $30k+ van, peeling paint on the insides of the doors...

  • Alan The Prado shouldn't have the Landcruiser name attached. It isn't a Landcruiser as much as a Tacoma or 4 Runner or a FJ Cruiser. Toyota have used the Landcruiser name as a marketing exercise for years. In Australia the RAV4 even had Landcruiser attached years ago! The Toyota Landcruiser is the Landcruiser, not a tarted up Tacoma wagon.Here a GX Prado cost about $61k before on roads, this is about $41k USD. This is a 2.8 diesel 4x4 with all the off road tricky stuff, plus AC, power windows, etc. I'm wondering if Toyota will perform the Nissan Armada treatment on it and debase the Prado. The Patrol here is actually as capable and possibly more capable than the Landcruiser off road (according to some reviews). The Armada was 'muricanised and the off road ability was reduced a lot. Who ever heard of a 2 wheel drive Patrol.Does the US need the Prado? Why not. Another option to choose from built by Toyota that is overpriced and uses old tech.My sister had a Prado Grande, I didn't think much of it. It was narrow inside and not that comfortable. Her Grand Cherokee was more comfortable and now her Toureg is even more comfortable, but you can still feel the road in the seat of your pants and ears.
  • Jeffrey No tis vehicle doen't need to come to America. The market if flooded in this segment what we need are fun affordable vehicles.
  • Nrd515 I don't really see the point of annual inspections, especially when the car is under 3 years (warranty) old. Inspections should be safety related, ONLY, none of the nonsensical CA ARB rules that end up being something like, "Your air intake doesn't have an ARB sticker on it, so you have to remove it and buy one just like it that does have the ARB sticker on it!". If the car or whatever isn't puking smoke out of it, and it doesn't make your eyes water, like an old Chevy Bel-Air I was behind on Wed did, it's fine. I was stuck in traffic behind that old car, and wow, the gasoline smell was super potent. It was in nice shape, but man, it was choking me. I was amused by the 80 something old guy driving it, he even had a hat with a feather in it, THE sign of someone you don't want to be driving anywhere near you.
  • Lou_BC "15mpg EPA" The 2023 ZR2 Colorado is supposed to be 16 mpg
  • ToolGuy "The more aerodynamic, organic shape of the Mark VIII meant ride height was slightly lower than before at 53.6 inches, over 54.2” for the Mark VII."• I am not sure that ride height means what you think it means.Elaboration: There is some possible disagreement about what "ride height" refers to. Some say ground clearance, some say H point (without calling it that), some say something else. But none of those people would use a number of over 4 feet for a stock Mark anything.Then you go on to use it correctly ("A notable advancement in the Mark VIII’s suspension was programming to lower the ride height slightly at high speeds, which assisted fuel economy via improved aerodynamics.") so what do I know. Plus, I ended a sentence with a preposition. 🙂