LOS ANGELES — Toyota, the nation's No. 1 selling brand, hasn't found its way out of the woods.
So far this year, Toyota has lost share compared with where it ended 2008, while rival brands Ford, Honda and Hyundai have gained share. Edmunds.com data show the percentage of shoppers who say they intend to buy a Toyota also has dropped.
Akio Toyoda, 53, who will become president of Toyota Motor Corp. on June 23, met with U.S. dealers last month. Dealers say he cited high costs, too many models, too many trim levels and the loss of its value position as some of the brand's problems in the United States.
But Bob Carter, Toyota Division general manager, is upbeat. "We're confident that we're going to maintain and even grow our market share as we move throughout 2009," he said during a sales call.
Carter cited the redesigned Prius, which goes on sale this month, and declining dealer inventories. Also the first of three 2009 nationwide sales events began this month, promoting deals on customer leases, cash rebates and low interest rates.