Cold weather depresses January auto sales

2013 Ford Ranger

The weather has been bone chilling all across the country so far in 2014, and many automakers are blaming weaker than expected auto sales on the chilly temperatures.

Four of the top five U.S. auto sellers on Monday blamed extreme winter weather for poorer-than-expected sales in January, as analysts and executives predicted a rebound in February and March.

U.S. automakers Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co as well as Japan’s Toyota Motor Sales USA and American Honda Motor Co saw auto sales plummet in January, missing analysts’ estimates for the month.

Sales results were mixed for other companies and brands, with Chrysler Group, a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Nissan North America reporting increases and topping forecasts.

Total industry sales in January, as compiled by Reuters from the manufacturers, fell 3.1 percent to 1,011,188.

Tye folks at Chrysler took the opportunity to crow a bit that the weather only affected their competitors, but having spent some time in Ohio in January, I’m not suprised by these disappointing results. Let’s see what happens in February and March.

  

New Year and New Toyota!

The good news for Toyota is that profits are back and last year is in the rear-view mirror. People are actually looking for things like a Toyota Tacoma for sale. But, the competition is more fierce than ever before and not just in North America but around the world as well. Toyota can’t bank on reliability alone to sell cars and trucks as the gap is tight with their rivals. It appears they got the memo and are starting to produce some better looking vehicles which should help the bottom line even more.

TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp. predicts surging North American sales will deliver its highest profit in five years, as the carmaker rapidly rebounds from last year’s natural disasters.

North American sales are seen climbing 25 percent to 2.35 million vehicles in the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2013.

Sales in Toyota’s second-biggest market slid 7.8 percent to 1.87 million units in the just-ended fiscal year, as an earthquake in Japan and flooding in Thailand crimped supply. But North America remained one of the company’s more profitable regions despite the decline and is poised for growth.

Revived North American sales will power Toyota to near record global sales of 8.7 million vehicles this fiscal year, Japan’s largest carmaker said today in its annual earnings presentation.

Toyota’s worldwide sales peaked at 8.91 million vehicles, on a fiscal year basis, in the 12 months ended March 31, 2008.

Read the full article.

  

Toyota Teases New LeMans Contender

In a leak on Twitter by Toyota’s PR rep Scott Brownlee, Dashboard has our first look at Toyota’s re-entry into LeMans competition. Yes, re-entry. Toyota has raced the 24hr long race before in the early 1990’s with modest success, but the program only lasted a few years. Last October, Toyota announced that they are planning to race at LeMans once again, but until now details have been slim.

For their second try at the race, Toyota is bringing a hybrid-equipped race car to fight against Audi’s incredibly successful, diesel powered R18. We can’t tell much from the leak other than that the car looks competition ready, but hard facts on power weight, and engine specs (the stuff that wins races) is yet to be released. The green flag has a whole new meaning now that two environmentally friendly challengers are in the race.

  

2012 Toyota Camry earns approval from Consumer Reports

Toyota’s 2012 Camry comes out of the gate with a recommend from Consumer Reports. Just a few years ago this wouldn’t be news but the world certainly has changed in the last few years! Regardless the new Camry could be the car that gets Toyota back on track and if recent sales figures are any indication things are looking up for Toyota in 2012.

From AutoNews.com:

LOS ANGELES (Bloomberg) — Toyota Motor Corp.’s revamped Camry, the best-selling sedan in the U.S., won a “recommended” review from Consumer Reports magazine, which has been critical of some of the Japanese automaker’s models.

The 2012 Camry, which went on sale in October, was evaluated for the February 2012 issue of the magazine published by Consumers Union, a non-profit group.

“The Camry has a nicer interior, more responsive handling, and better fuel economy than before,” the review said. “In fact, the four-cylinder model’s 27 mpg overall ties with the Hyundai Sonata for the best fuel economy among conventional gasoline-powered family sedans.”

Carmakers seek favorable reviews from the magazine as they are considered among the most objective because of its policies of accepting no advertising and buying every vehicle it tests. While Toyota has historically fared well in Consumer Reports reviews, the magazine said in 2007 it would scrutinize the brand more closely due to problems it found in the Tundra pickup, Lexus GS luxury car and previous V-6 engine Camry sedan.

Read the full review.

The competition has certainly changed for Toyota, as companies like Hyundai have really set the bar high, and older competitors like Ford and GM are also gunning for leaders like the Camry. American Toyota dealers and Toyota Canada dealers must be happy to get this positive news about the Camry.

  

More Prius, More Giving: Last Chance to Donate a Toy on Behalf of Toyota to Toys for Tots

Wanted to let everyone know that Toyota’s “More Prius. More Giving.” toy drive on Facebook is closing this Friday (12/23) and it’s your last chance to donate a toy on behalf of Toyota to Toys for Tots! And with participation as easy as a simple click and share on the Toyota Prius Facebook Page, there’s no excuse not to. If you haven’t already….

Donate A Toy With A Click.
Visit the “More Prius. More Giving.” tab on the Prius Facebook page (www.facebook.com/prius) and click to select one of five toys to donate on behalf of Toyota (completely free on your end!). The toy will then be virtually loaded into the Prius v and added to the total donation count. That’s it!

  

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