LOS ANGELES -- Buoyed by some key launches this fall and a robust overall market, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. has again increased its 2013 sales target.
At Toyota's recent national dealer meeting in Atlanta, Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations, told dealers he expects Toyota and Scion divisions to sell more than 2 million units this year. Including Lexus, the tally should exceed 2.25 million.
That's another jump from Toyota's initial expectations for 2013. At the end of last year, Toyota's projection for all three brands was about 2.15 million, up from 2.08 million in 2012. In April, Toyota bumped the corporate expectation to "2.2 million-plus," but did not expect Toyota Division to top 1.95 million units.
The revised targets go along with Toyota's increasingly optimistic industry forecast of 15.5 million units for the year. At the beginning of 2013, Toyota predicted the industry would finish around 14.7 million sales. In April, Toyota bumped its 2013 industry estimate to 15.3 million.
"The market is starting to recover in the same pattern we projected," Carter said in a phone interview. "It just started about six months before we thought. I think the market's there and we're seeing the traffic."
Toyota's second-half confidence also stems from launches this fall of the re-engineered Tundra and redesigned Corolla.
A California dealer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Toyota initially had planned for the Toyota and Scion brands to reach 2 million units in 2014. But he said company executives have become more bullish.
"There's a new Corolla coming, and a commitment to keeping Camry No. 1," the dealer said. "They want to sell more than 400,000 Camrys this year. They're going to do whatever it takes."
Toyota is keeping the Camry much the same for the 2014 model year, and dealers were shown a rendering of the 2015 Camry arriving next summer, which dealers say is more than a nip and a tuck. Although Toyota sold 404,886 Camrys last year, product planners and designers took the increased mid-sized sedan competition from Honda, Ford and Nissan to heart.