Toyota brand sales fell 7.2 percent in December to 172,048, pulled down by falloffs in sales of its pickups as well as its entire sedan lineup. The brand’s best-selling vehicle, the RAV4 crossover, continued to roll as it recorded an 11 percent gain. Toyota’s other light trucks, with the exception of the low-volume Land Cruiser, posted declines. The brand’s car sales fell 8.5 percent and light trucks fell 6.5 percent.
For the year, Toyota’s sales dipped 2 percent. The high-volume Corolla, despite a market with a decreasing appetite for cars, eked out a 0.4 percent gain. The RAV4’s sales rose 4.9 percent to 448,071 -- more than a fifth of the brand's total volume -- and the large Land Cruiser SUV posted a 9.7 percent gain.
Lexus sales, meanwhile, slid 0.6 percent in the month to 35,325, as a 6.8 gain in the luxury brand's lineup of crossovers offset a 6.5 percent drop in its sedan and coupe deliveries. Lexus’ top-selling model, the midsize RX crossover, compact UX crossover bolstered the brand’s December volume.
For 2019, Lexus volume declined 0.1 percent. The UX was the brand’s sole light truck that posted a gain, carrying Lexus overall crossover volume to a 5.6 percent increase. On the car side, the midsize ES sedan rose 5.9 percent and RC coupe gained 37 percent. The brand’s car sales fell 13 percent.
Combined, Toyota Motor North America sales declined for the fourth straight year. They were down 1.8 percent to 2,383,349.
Brands: Toyota, down 7.2%; Lexus, down 0.6% in December
Notable nameplates: Toyota Camry, down 9.6%; Corolla, down 6.7%; Tacoma, down 3.7%; Tundra, down 22.3%; RAV4, up 6.8%; Highlander, down 11.6%; Lexus RX, up 6.4%; NX, down 9.2%; ES, down 6.7%
U.S. market share: 13.9% in 2019 v. 14% in 2018
Incentives: $2,811 per vehicle, up 14% from a year earlier, ALG says. But Toyota disputes the number and says it is inflated. Through the first half of December, a spokesman for the automaker said its incentive spend was up 8.8%, but that full month's totals weren't yet available.
Average transaction price: $33,363, up 2.3% from a year earlier, according to ALG
Fleet mix: 10%, Toyota says
Quote: "We started 2019 at a roughly 5 percent hybrid (sales) mix, and we ended it with a 13 percent hybrid mix. We want to grow that. We've already been exceeding our expectations," said Jack Hollis, head of the Toyota brand, who added that the automaker expects hybrids to make up at least 15% of its 2020 sales. "Every time gas prices go up, we see a spike in hybrid sales."
Did you know? Toyota sold 248,801 Tacoma pickups in 2019, the highest annual total in the model's 24-year history. The sales represented a 1.3% increase over 2018 sales.