Toyota and Lexus production is nearly back to where it was a year ago, top Toyota Motor North America executives said Thursday, adding that they expect a continuing recovery for the industry to yield 14.5 million U.S. sales this year.
That result would still be down from 17.1 million U.S. light-vehicle deliveries in 2019, but significantly above the levels of this past spring during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Sales cratered to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 8.7 million in April and have climbed every month since, according to Motor Intelligence.
Speaking via teleconference from the company's headquarters in Plano, Texas, Chris Reynolds, Toyota Motor North America's head of manufacturing, said North American production had increased to 93.7 percent of capacity by the end of September. That compares with 95.9 percent at the same point a year earlier.
"Many of our plants have been working overtime and Saturdays to help meet strong customer demand for our products," Reynolds said. "Our team members in the plants are voting with their feet. They believe in the (safety) protocols, they respect them, even though many of them are uncomfortable and inconvenient, but they get the job done."