LOS ANGELES -- The Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands combined for a 46 percent increase in August sales, building on Toyota Motor Corp.'s U.S. market share gains.
Last month's rise followed sales advances of 60 percent in June and 87 percent in May, as the company continued to rebound from last year's natural disasters in Asia. Thanks to a 30 percent jump in U.S. sales this year, Toyota's eight-month share of the U.S. market now stands at 14.4 percent, up from 12.7 percent a year earlier.
In addition, Toyota was the industry's top-selling retail brand for the sixth straight month. August fleet sales accounted for less than 3 percent of total volume.
"It was a good month for the industry and a great month for Toyota," said Bill Fay, Toyota Division general manager. "The auto industry continued to outperform the general economy in August."
Lexus also had its best month of the year, outselling both BMW and Mercedes-Benz for the first time in 2012.
The Camry continued to rank as the best-selling car in the United States, with August sales of 36,720, up 22 percent.
Toyota hopes to build on that trend in September with the start of zero-percent financing on 2012 Camry models. It also plans to continue offering a special lease deal that provides monthly payments below $200.
Zero-percent financing offers also will apply to the 2012 Corolla, Avalon, Tundra, RAV4, Venza, Highlander and Sienna.
Rising gasoline prices helped pushed sales of the Prius hybrid family above 20,000 units, split 65 percent on the Liftback, 15 percent apiece each for the Prius V and Prius C, and 5 percent on the Plug-In Prius. Overall, Prius sales soared 122percent last month compared with August 2011, when supplies were tight.
Scion is also experiencing new sales growth, with the new FR-S coupe the fastest-turning vehicle in the industry, according to Edmunds.com. Scion volume grew 112 percent last month and has advanced 47 percent this year through August.
On the truck side, Toyota reported its best pickup sales in four years, with combined deliveries of the Tacoma and Tundra hitting 23,540, up 53 percent.
"We have a lot of momentum with those trucks," Fay said.
Fay said that Labor Day weekend sales were strong, but those numbers would be reported as part of September sales.
On the Lexus side, Tim Morrison, vice president of sales and dealer development, said an August sell-down event for the ES and LS sedans helped push volume. Although the IS sedan and CT hatchback posted volume declines, the mid-month introduction of the redesigned 2013 ES energized sales, as did continued strong movement for the GS introduced in spring.
All of Lexus' SUVs posted sales increases.
"Customers are responding to all our new vehicles and to a resurgent brand," Morrison said. "It has everything to do with us, and not much to do with the competition. We want to be No. 1 with the customer, and everything else can fall in place after that. We are right on plan."