Despite a lift from the federal cash for clunkers rebate program, Toyota dealers sold 11.4 percent fewer cars and trucks in July than a year ago.
Toyota Division sales, including Scion, sold 156,355 cars and trucks for the month, compared to 175,242 in July 2008.
Lexus Division sales fell 16.5 percent to 18,517 vehicles, from 22,182 in July 2008.
But Bob Carter, Toyota Division general manager, estimated that Toyota racked up 30,000-32,000 incremental sales from the clunkers program, or Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), during the final week of July.
In our view CARS has really served as a very tangible stimulus package, Carter said in a conference call with reporters today. This really confirms for us that theres an appetite out there for fuel-efficient vehicles.
He said the program blew the lid off of our California sales. California has been a troubled market for many auto brands. Carter estimated the clunker program was responsible for a 55-percent rise in California sales over June 2009 levels.
He said five Toyota models generated 80 percent of the sales resulting from the clunker program: The Corolla, Camry, Prius, RAV 4 and Tacoma pickup.
Prius sales reached 19,173 for the month, a nearly 30 percent increase over July 2008, and 41 percent higher than in June 2008.
Highlander crossover sales increased 39 percent from a year earlier, and RAV4 sales were up 32 percent.
We continue to be confident that the industry has bottomed, Carter said. Sales will continue to rebound modestly in the second half.
For the year to date, Toyota has sold 945,319 vehicles in the United States, a plunge of 34.2 percent from the same seven months of 2008. Total U.S. sales are down 34 percent so far this year.