NADA 2019: Toyota Promises Dealers More Utility Vehicles, Plans to Ignore EVs

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
nada 2019 toyota promises dealers more utility vehicles plans to ignore evs

While the closing day of the 2019 National Automobile Dealers Association meetup revolved around charitable opportunities, engineering equality in the workplace, and a talk from author, pro golfer, and USAF veteran Major Dan Rooney on the merits of personal accountability, the rest of the event focused more directly on the auto industry.

One of the larger announcements came from Jack Hollis, general manager of Toyota North America’s Toyota division, who told dealers that his company intends to introduce 19 entirely new, redesigned, or refreshed vehicles over the next three years — focusing on utility models, but not ignoring cars. Toyota and Hollis are adamant that the brand can take advantage of other manufacturers abandoning sedan sales by both keeping them in its roster and continuing to improve them. Still, they acknowledge that SUVs and crossovers are essential in wrangling today’s buyers.

The secret, according to Toyota, is having a diverse lineup. However, pure electrics ( and maybe minivans) don’t make the list, at least until sales data makes a better case for them.

“We’re still committed to being a full-line manufacturer,” Hollis told Automotive News in a brief interview after his speech. However, while the company’s fleshed-out lineup will include some new hybrids before 2022 (including the Corolla and Prius AWD-e), it plans to wait on battery-only models. “The equations around electric aren’t making money,” he explained.

Hollis also said that the brand is on a mission to improve dealership profitability, which he described as roughly even when comparing last year to 2017. He believes 2018 will end up being among the brand’s top 5 years for dealership profitability, once everything is tabulated.

Automotive News claims Toyota is among the most-liked brands in the industry, which rings true. We recently examined Cox Automotive’s assessment of which company’s dealers scored the highest and Toyota bested every mainstream manufacturer, losing to Ford only because of its superior “geographic consistency” in the United States. Its dealership network is also consistently profitable, which gives participants little reason to slight the brand. Customers also hold Toyota in high regard, largely due to its reputation for superior reliability.

Toyota seems confident going into 2019, with Hollis’ only major concerns being the uncertainties surrounding global trade. But that’s nothing new. In December, Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota Motor North America, said the U.S. proposal to place a 25 percent tariff on imported cars would elevate vehicle prices and undercut sales. He expressed his hope that President Trump decides against any new industry-harming tariffs.

[Image: Toyota]

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  • Scoutdude Scoutdude on Jan 29, 2019

    Truely amazing that they are going to keep their head in the sand. I saw an article that says that they admit that they have lost a lot of Prius customers to Tesla Model 3 and so far people are paying prices that Toyota certainly could have made a pretty penny on and sold quite a few if it had a Lexus Badge and even more money if it was a high riding wagon.

  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Jan 29, 2019

    So Toyota is waiting to see if electrics catch on. Cool. I suppose they are waiting to see if Full-sized trucks are a fad as well before upgrading the Tundra. That's cool. And maybe sports cars are a passing trend so why actually build a Supra...just slap a badge on it. Worked for Chrysler with the Mitsubishi Starion. And that 86, why design a motor for it. Seriously, what does Toyota do better than anyone else anymore outside of resale which has more to do with Baby Boomers owning GM X bodies back in the day than Toyota products being in any way exceptional

  • Tassos While Acura was the first Japanese attempt to sell 'luxury' (or "premium") vehicles in the US market, and despite its original good success in the near-luxury segment with the Legend and the far smaller and less expensive Itegra (a glorified Civic), it later lost its momentum and offered a series of underwhelming vehicles. It sure is not a LUXURY maker, and as long as it offers FWD or AWD and NOT RWD vehicles, it will never be taken seriously as a serious sports cars maker. Infiniti is much worse, and if both of them go under, few will notice. Lexus was more successful, offering pimped up TOyotas for 10,000s more, but there is NO vehicle in their lineup, esp now that they scewed up the only serious entry (the LS), that I would care to consider. AND I say all this as a very satisfied owner of 5-speed Honda coupes and hatchbacks (a 1991 Civic hatch and a 1990 Accord Coupe).
  • Mike Beranek Yet another reason to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles charged with energy from wind & solar with modern, non-Monty Burns nuclear as a backup.
  • Tassos The cap the timid Western Europeans agreed to, a HIGH $60, which still lets Putin make a TON of billions of $, was way too HIGH. Ukraine correctly complained about this, it had asked for a $20 cap, I believe.
  • FreedMike "...I wouldn’t recommend holding your breath until fuel prices drop."Regular is $2.87 at my local gas station today. Considering that it was over four bucks this summer, I'd call that a drop. And it happened with the war still going on, the GOP not taking over Congress, Dark Brandon in the White House, and the Theoretical Keystone Pipeline still being canned. Imagine that. And I wonder if poor Slavuta has broken out the "will rap for food" sign yet.
  • THX1136 I would imagine the caps will have minimal impact. Putin is going to do what he wants to do regardless of how the citizens of his country fare.