A new generation of larger, more stylish vehicles will propel Toyota to No. 3 in U.S. sales within five years, says consulting firm CSM Worldwide.
Combined U.S. sales of Toyota's divisions - Toyota, Lexus and Scion - are likely to grow 24 percent to 2.5 million units by 2009, says CSM of Farmington Hills, Mich. If the forecast holds true, Toyota would bump DaimlerChrysler to the No. 4 slot.
Toyota's U.S. sales this year through November totaled 1.87 million units, up 9.3 percent from last year.
"This is not a slam on DaimlerChrysler," says Joseph Barker, manager of North American sales analysis for the consulting firm. "Our outlook for DaimlerChrysler is optimistic. We think they will sustain their market share over the next five years, which is not an easy challenge."
Barker says Toyota "will be taking share from just about every competitor in the market."
CSM expects Toyota to have 29 nameplates in the United States in 2009, compared with 27 today. "The growth will come, to a large degree, on the backs of successors of existing nameplates," Barker says.
As one example, Barker cites the redesigned 2005 Toyota Avalon sedan that will be introduced at the Detroit auto show next week. Sales of the new Avalon should rise to double those of the current vehicle, which sells about 36,000 units annually, Barker says.
"The new Avalon will be sexier, more sophisticated and elevate quality to a higher standard," Barker says. "It's a sign of things to come from Toyota. Their product pipeline is loaded with vehicles that are larger and have edgier styling."
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