Toyota sales advance 16%; U.S. market share rises
Through October, Toyota's U.S. share stood at 14.4 percent, up about two points from a year earlier.
LOS ANGELES -- Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. posted a 16 percent sales gain in October -- among the industry's biggest increases -- while sustaining significant storm damage at its New Jersey port facility and about 15 dealerships.
Toyota believes about 4,000 units in port storage were damaged by Hurricane Sandy, Bill Fay, Toyota Division general manager, said in a conference call.
About 15 dealers are still without power, he said. Toyota hasn't confirmed if their October sales will be recorded in November, or if those dealers used other dealers' reporting systems to input their final tallies.
"Most of our dealers in the Northeast corridor are quickly getting back to full operations," Fay said. "There are no reports of serious injuries to Toyota or dealer associates."
From May through September, Toyota's monthly sales increases had averaged 52 percent as the company stormed back from last year's natural disasters in Asia. While that pace was expected to cool, October's 16 percent rise fell short of the 18 percent to 20 percent forecast by Fay last week.
The automaker continued to gain market share, though, as overall industry sales were up 7 percent. Through October, Toyota's U.S. share stood at 14.4 percent, up 1.8 points from a year earlier.
Toyota Division had a 17 percent sales increase last month to 135,392. Lexus rose 10 percent to 19,850.
Toyota sold nearly 30,000 Camrys in October, a 36 percent gain over last year.
Toyota hybrid sales rose 75 percent in October, mostly because hybrid parts were in short supply after last year's earthquake in Japan.
While Toyota car sales surged, minivan and crossover sales were considerably slower because of higher gasoline prices, lower inventories and reduced incentive spending on those lines, Fay said.
"We see continued stability in the marketplace as we pick up the pieces from the hurricane. It will probably be a couple months to recover lost business," Fay said. "We're predicting a consistent strong pace for November and December."
Toyota expects a big retail push for the end of the year. Its Toyotathon sales event, which usually begins in December, will begin in some regions in mid-November. The event will include 0 percent financing on nine models, as well as many lease deals, including a Camry lease for less than $200 a month, Fay said.
Toyota is ready for the push, with 300,000 to 325,000 units in dealer stocks and in ports.
Also, for customers in areas hit by the hurricane, Toyota will delay the first payment on a new car by 90 days, Fay said.
On the Lexus side, Tim Morrison, vice president of sales and dealer development, predicts the brand will finish 2013 with about 240,000 sales. Lexus dealers and port facilities have about 40,000 units in inventory, a 45-day supply, as the brand gears up for its "December to Remember" sales push.
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