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Toyota reaps truck boom to record October volume

Toyota, riding a wave of light-truck sales to a 13 percent gain in U.S. volume, surpassed 200,000 deliveries in October for the first time. Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

Toyota Motor Sales posted its best October ever, riding a wave of light-truck sales to a 13 percent gain in U.S. volume and marking the first time the company surpassed 200,000 deliveries in October.

Toyota Motor sold 204,045 vehicles, reflecting double-digit sales gains by nearly every SUV and crossover it sells.

“October was a huge month for the industry, smashing expectations and continuing its hot streak,” Bill Fay, general manager of Toyota Division, said in a statement.

Toyota Division sales rose 12 percent, thanks to a 12 percent increase in the Corolla, a 13 percent increase in the Prius (in the middle of a sell-down ahead of the fourth generation that goes on sale this year) and a record October for the RAV4 crossover, up 31 percent, and Highlander crossover, up 10 percent.

Sales of Toyota’s redesigned Tacoma midsize pickup advanced 17 percent in its first full month on the market, while sales of the full-size Tundra pickup were flat.

Lexus posted a 13 percent increase in volume and produced its best October ever, with 26,436 sales.

All of the luxury brand’s gains came from SUVs and crossovers, which rose 34 percent while car demand slid 3.3 percent. The new NX compact premium crossover and the larger GX continued to post solid sales and Lexus is eagerly awaiting the redesigned RX crossover, the brand’s best-selling nameplate.

“We are most excited about the arrival of the all-new RX as it hits showrooms today,” Jeff Bracken, Lexus general manager, said in a statement. “We expect this new model to continue energizing the brand as we close the year.”

Scion, Toyota’s youth and value-oriented brand, had volume surge 50 percent to 6,270 vehicles in October, thanks to its new iA subcompact sedan and iM subcompact hatchback.

Some of the gains by Toyota Motor were due to a healthy increase in incentive spending throughout the industry. The company averaged $2,146 per vehicle, according to TrueCar.com’s forecast for October. That’s a 14 percent increase over October 2014, but less than the industry average of $3,104.

“Those manufacturers with a strong light-truck portfolio -- FCA, Ford, GM and Toyota -- are maximizing production and availability of these products to take advantage of the appealing environment of low interest rates and gas prices,” said Tom Libby, an analyst at IHS Automotive. “They know this situation won’t last forever.”

You can reach David Undercoffler at undercoffler@crain.com -- Follow David on Twitter: @autonews_west

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