By on January 20, 2015

2014 Toyota RAV4 Exterior, Picture Courtesy pf Alex L Dykes

With U.S. demand for its crossovers and SUVs expected to increase in 2015, Toyota is responding in kind by increasing production at home and in Canada.

Bloomberg reports the production increase will prove challenging to president Akio Toyoda’s strategy of squeezing more vehicles — such as the RAV4, RX and NX — from the plants already in place before considering new construction after March 2016.

Further, Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz says the automaker plans to add smaller crossovers and SUVs to help it gain more overall market share in the U.S. against competitors like Volkswagen, maintaining its position on the top of the global sales podium in so doing.

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34 Comments on “Toyota Increasing Crossover, SUV Production To Meet US Demand...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “Jim Lentz says the automaker plans to add smaller crossovers and SUVs to help it gain more overall market share in the U.S. against competitors like Volkswagen”

    Huh, what? Since when is VW a threat to Toyota in the small crossover/SUV market?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The references to VW were to Toyota Motor Corporation competing against VW AG globally, not the Toyota brand beating the VW brand in the US crossover market.

      And the VW references were coming from Bloomberg, not from Jim Lentz. The reporter was trying to create a global context for the story.

      The main story is that Toyota may offer a CUV that is smaller than the RAV4 in the US market. That would seem to be driven by Honda’s new CUV, not by VW. VW is obviously not a strong rival in that segment in this country.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    My gf’s folks traded in a 2005 Highlander Limited with 170k miles in for a 2013 Rav4 Limited, I have to say it’s quite a downgrade in everything but MPG, which went from about 21 mpg on loaded up highway trips in the Highlander to 28 mpg in the Rav (going 75mph in both).

    The interior plastics are just horrendous in the Rav4, the faux carbon fiber texturing on the center console is nothing short of WTF. This is coming from a guy with a lambasted 2012 Civic!

    Rear seat is a really hard bench, spending even an hour back there for a larger person was rough. The Limited on 18 inch wheels rides like crap as well. Potholes and expansion joints are felt way too much for what’s supposed to be a regular family car.

    It does have one of the largest cargo capacities in its class, and is one of the few crossovers to have a locking center viscous coupling (locks 50/50 front to rear at low speeds). The Camry-borrowed 2.5L/6A combo is a tried and true, solid unit. I’m sure these will make it to 200k miles with little to no fuss.

    I really can’t blame people for buying compact SUVs in droves, with how good the MPG is on them these days it really gives up nothing to a sedan while offering more room, optional AWD, and some extra ground clearance (as in what used to be normal clearance for a sedan). I will not mention driving dynamics, they are good enough on the CUVs that the average consumer won’t care or notice.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “My gf’s folks traded in a 2005 Highlander Limited with 170k miles in for a 2013 Rav4 Limited, I have to say it’s quite a downgrade”

      Since the Highlander is almost $10K more then the Rav4 not really a fair comparison

      • 0 avatar

        Perhaps not, but he’s not wrong. The current RAV4 is a real minger. Bad interior, uninspiring engine (sorry, it’s one of the least pleasant sounding 4-cylinders I’ve heard in a modern car), ugly (although, of course, eye of the beholder), and, worst of all, a bad ride.

        What happened to the Toyota that I had nice quality (if bland) interiors and, above all, a comfortable ride? Such a miss in my books.

        • 0 avatar
          slance66

          My in-laws bought one without sufficient testing/seat time, coming from an older CR-V. The Rav4 is crap by comparison. That CR-V has been a great car (they kept it and sold an even older car). Less than a year old and they want to get rid of the Rav4 already.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Unless they had an engine sludge problem, I probably would have saved some money and kept the Highlander.

        • 0 avatar
          zach

          The Highlander never had a sludge problem, certainly not the 2005..My girlfriend had a 2004 and put 250,000 abused miles on it, not a hint of sludge, the 3.3 V6 is a gem.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            One MY as an example does not a “never had” make.

            http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/car-parts-and-accessories/engine-sludge/index.htm

            Where did you come from, and can you go back there?

          • 0 avatar
            zach

            It’s probably a good idea for you to remain childless, you sound like one yourself, certainly dramatic at best. “Where did you come from , and can you go back there?”

        • 0 avatar
          zach

          Is this an RSVP thing ? anyway, change your oil and you won’t have sludge.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        The Venza sells for about the same money as the Highlander, and it has the same interior afflictions.

    • 0 avatar
      kovakp

      How relevant are back seat criticisms of small CUVs? Aren’t they at least de facto old folks’ rides? I know mine is. No fluid flinging rugrats shall ever there intrude.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Being a OGNGK (Old Guy No Grand Kids) is indeed an enviable place to be

        • 0 avatar
          kovakp

          Not out of the woods yet… daughter is only 29 but seems completely absorbed with career and travel. But you never know.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Don’t nobody got time for grandbabies!

            I’m 28, and have 0% desire for babies or any of the excess responsibility or costs which go along with them. I like having my own time, and money to use during said time. Selfish, probably. But definitely what I want.

          • 0 avatar
            DeeDub

            “I like having my own time, and money to use during said time. Selfish, probably. But definitely what I want.”

            Said every guy in his twenties ever. Yet our species continues to continue.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I dunno about that though, I think the general view is changing on kids. My grandparents had kids by early 20s, my parents had them by mid 20s. I’m past due, with still no interest.

            And up there, you see a woman who’s 29 and has no interest. And I know several people my age at work who don’t have interest either!

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Lie2Me-

          I don’t know. My parents say that being a grandparent is one of the best things ever. My two year old adores them, so I’m sure that doesn’t hurt.

          Corey-

          I know plenty of people that had no interest in having kids until they were in their mid-30s or they got married. If you don’t have interest in getting married any time soon, I’m not surprised that you don’t want kids.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Relevant for them since that’s what they take every Christmas to drive out to visit family in Ohio with a trunk full of suitcases and presents. I think a Rogue or CRV have more comfortable rear seat accommodations, just in terms of cushion shape and seat angle.

        I agree on the Highlander being an unfair comparison, I think this was a case of focusing too much on fuel economy instead of what you actually need in a vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        Very common family cars in the city, for people who don’t want to cram car seats in a Civic but still need to be able to parallel park.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    At least this guys following the market demands, last weeks article where Barra says she’s going to continue doing what they’re doing and ignore the market is ridiculous.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “Barra says she’s going to continue doing what they’re doing”

      … as soon as they figure out what exactly that is

      FIFY

    • 0 avatar

      How are they ignoring the market here?

      They have two tiny CUVs that are selling well in North America. In fact, they were ahead of the curve on the tiny CUV trend (remember when everyone first saw the Buick Encore and was all like ‘LOL’?). Yes, the Equinox needs replacing, but that’s product planning not a failure to abide by market demands.

      GM ignoring the market is how we go the 6-speed CTS wagon. Let them do it once in a while.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I’m not saying they havent taken advantage of the market. I’m referring to what Barra said about ignoring market changes. Obviously so far they’re supporting the market direction, but when a CEO purposely says screw the market you have to be hesitant.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    All that production squeezing and massive pressure on their suppliers to ramp up for demand might take a heavy toll on their quality level. Toyota is notorious when it comes to pressuring their suppliers.

  • avatar
    Kato

    “the automaker plans to add smaller crossovers and SUVs”

    The smaller SUVs bit piqued my interest. I’d like a 4-door SUV based on the new Tacoma, with the new Atkinson cycle V6, a transfer case, a manual transmission and some off-road chops please. Think of a slightly smaller, modernized Gen III 4Runner. Or an updated, 4-door FJ without the cartoon styling, massive blind-spots, and unslakable thirst for premium. Oh, and please don’t whack it with an ugly stick. The current 4Runner is both hideously ugly and too big.


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