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Nissan sets June sales record

July 2nd, 2013 No comments

Toyota and Nissan each reported Tuesday morning that June sales were up over last year.

Toyota sales were up 14 percent; Nissan’s rose 12.9 percent.

Last month had one more selling day than June 2012.

Nissan’s U.S. sales set a June record, with 104,124 units. Nissan Division sales also set a June record, with 95,010 units sold. That represents a 16.1 percent increase over last June.

Sales of the Altima, which is made in Canton, were up 23 percent to 26,902 units, also a June record.

For the first half of 2013, Toyota sold 1,108,791 units on one less selling day than the first half of 2012. That represents a 6.7 percent increase on a daily selling rate basis. Unadjusted, sales were up 6 percent year over year.

“The auto industry led the economic recovery through the first half of 2013, kicking off a strong summer selling season, which we expect will carry into the second half of the year,” said Bill Fay, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager. “Sales in June were solid, and demand didn’t skip a beat.  Customers are already showing an interest in the all-new Corolla, our hybrid lineup had its best-ever June and Camry topped 35,000 units.”

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Toyota unveils redesigned Corolla

June 7th, 2013 No comments

Toyota unveiled the redesigned 2014 Corolla at an event in Santa Monica, Calif., Thursday night.

It will include elements of the Corolla Furia concept car that debuted earlier this year at the North American Auto International Auto Show. The wheelbase will be extended by nearly four inches, with the wheels pushed farther out to the corners.

2014_CorollaLE_Eco_002The front of the compact sedan will look more like its counterparts, the midsize Camry and the full-size Avalon. During last night’s reveal, company executives said the new Corolla was heavy on rounded corners and more precisely sculpted surfaces. LED headlamps are also new, making the Corolla the first compact sedan to offer them as a standard feature.

This will be the Corolla’s 47th year on the market. Its popularity has played a large part in making Toyota the world’s top automotive retail manufacturer. More than 40 million of them have been sold since 1966.

In the U.S, the Corolla is built in Blue Springs, whose facility started production in late 2011. Toyota also has a Corolla plant in Ontario, Canada. Only about five percent are imported from the company’s production facilities in Japan.

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Nissan sales surge in April; Toyota’s dip slightly

May 1st, 2013 No comments

 

Nissan reported Tuesday that its April sales were up 23 percent over last year.

The company, which has a facility in Canton, sold 87,847 units for the month, up from 71,329 in April 2012.

A 24.6 percent sales jump in the Nissan division was spurred by the Altima (built in Canton), Pathfinder, Sentra (also built in Canton) and the Rogue compact SUV. Sales of the Altima in April were up 35 percent. Sentra sales jumped 44.9 percent.

“In the first quarter of 2013, we improved our retail sales by more than 4 percent while reducing deliveries to fleet customers by more than 17 percent,” said Jose Munoz, Nissan Americas senior vice president for sales and marketing. “We continued this trend in April with retail up 29 percent and fleet mix down over four percentage points from one year ago, which proves that our new products such as Altima, Sentra and Pathfinder are taking strong hold in the marketplace. We expect to have gained market share in April due to our strong retail performance, which we have full intention to continue through the summer months given the building momentum that we are seeing with Altima, Sentra and Pathfinder in particular.”

The news wasn’t as good for Toyota, which builds the compact Corolla sedan in Blue Springs.

Overall Toyota Motor Sales dipped 5 percent. The Toyota Division’s sales fell 5.4 percent over April 2012 on one more selling day.

It was the first month in several the automaker did not report monthly sales had risen year-over-year. March sales rose 4.8 percent. February sales were up 8.7 percent; January sales increased 21 percent.

“From an industry standpoint, continued retail sales growth indicates the underlying strength of the market, which is a great sign for the months ahead, especially with new products, low interest rates and plenty of pent up demand,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager of Toyota Division.  “Toyota’s two newest models – Avalon and RAV4 – continued to attract customers with double digit gains in April.”

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Toyota to make production announcement Friday (Updated)

April 18th, 2013 No comments

Toyota president Akio Toyoda will unveil a new production initiative Friday morning in New York.

Details of Toyoda’s announcement are scarce. It’s unknown if it will have any bearing on the Toyota plant in Blue Springs, which has been making the Corolla compact sedan since November 2011.

There have been faint rumors of another model being added to the Blue Springs line since then, but company officials have dismissed those, for the most part. Toyota, going back to the original Blue Springs announcement in early 2007, has built a reputation as being really good at keeping major announcements under wraps until the company is ready to make them.

It’s likely whatever production move the company announces Friday will have to do with one of the company’s North American facilities. North American region CEO Jim Lentz will appear with Toyoda.

If Blue Springs is on tomorrow’s agenda, it’s conceivable that a related supplier will locate in West Point, about 60 miles of four-lane highway from the Blue Springs.

The Clarion-Ledger reported Wednesday that Gov. Phil Bryant will call a special session April 29 for lawmakers to consider incentives for an economic development project. The newspaper reported the project is an auto supplier in West Point.

Toyoda will make the announcement at 8:30. A live stream can be found at www.toyotanewsroom.com.

UPDATE: Reuters is reporting that Toyota’s facility in Kentucky will begin making the Lexus ES sedan in 2015. The state gave the company $146 million in incentives to land the deal.

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No Mississippi-made vehicles included in Toyota, Nissan airbag recall

April 11th, 2013 No comments

Toyota and Nissan were among automotive manufacturers to issue a huge recall of vehicles Thursday for potentially faulty passenger-side airbag systems.

The airbags were made by Takata Corp. in Japan. The carmakers said the systems were assembled with improperly manufactured wafers that could cause the airbags to deploy abnormally in the event of a crash. As many as 3 million vehicles in North America and Japan could fall under the recall.

The Toyota vehicles recalled include the Corolla, but only models made from 2001-2003, well before the company’s plant in Blue Springs started producing the compact sedan in November 2011.

The Nissan recalls include vehicles made from 2001-2003 in Japan, a spokesperson said in an email Thursday morning to the Mississippi Business Journal. Canton’s Nissan facility opened in May 2003.

The recall also affected Honda vehicles. The manufacturers will notify owners within 30 days if their vehicle qualifies for a front passenger airbag inflator replacement. Replacement will be free.

“Nissan is committed to a high level of customer safety, service and satisfaction and is working with its dealers to promptly address this issue,” the company said in a press release.

Toyota-related information can be found at www.toyota.com/recall and www.lexus.com/recall or by calling 1 800-331-4331 (Toyota) and 1 800-255-3987 (Lexus).

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Toyota reports best sales month since 2009 Cash for Clunkers program

April 2nd, 2013 No comments

Toyota’s sales numbers for March represented a 4.8 percent increase over March 2012 on a daily selling rate basis.

The company sold 205,342 units in March. Total sales were up 1 percent on one fewer selling day.

For the first quarter, Toyota reported sales of 529,444 units, an increase of 10.1 percent over the same period in 2012 on a DSR basis on one fewer selling day. Total sales for the quarter were up 8.7 percent.

“The auto industry continued its string of impressive monthly results, and at Toyota we had our best month since Cash for Clunkers in August of 2009,” Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations, said in a company press release. “A strong first-quarter close and increased consumer confidence continue to position the auto industry as a leader in the economic recovery.”

The Toyota Division sold 182,152 units in March, up 3.1 percent year-over-year on a DSR basis.  Volume-wise, Toyota Division sales dropped 0.5 percent over March 2012.

Sales of the Corolla, made in Blue Springs, were up 11.1 percent, with 31,423 units sold. Sales across the automotive industry were up 6 percent for the quarter. Toyota revised its overall industry sales projections for 2013 up to 15.3 million units, and 2.2 million units as a company.

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Toyota SVP says company expects strong 2013

March 26th, 2013 No comments

Toyota expects auto sales across all manufacturers to reach 15.3 million units in 2013.

That was one of the points Toyota Motor Sales senior vice president Bob Carter made Tuesday at the J.D. Power/National Automobile Dealers Association’s Automotive Forum.

That would represent an increase in total sales of about 4 percent over 2012.

Carter said the sales outlook for the next few years is even better, tracking toward 16 million units.

He said the growth is a symptom of what he called a continually improving economy. Carter cited lower unemployment rates, higher consumer confidence and stock prices and increases in manufacturing and construction.

“Last year, the economy grew on average about two-percent, and this year will probably be about the same,” said during his speech at the industry forum. “Fortunately, we believe the auto industry will grow even more than the economy in 2013.”

Total industry sales for the first two months of sales in 2013 are2.2 million units, almost 9 percent more than the same period last year, Carter said. Toyota’s three major brands – Toyota, Scion and Lexus — sold over 324,100 vehicles in that time, a 14.1 percent increase from a year ago, and nearly double the industry growth, Carter said.

“And we expect a lot of that growth to be in hybrids, small trucks and retail sales, areas of strength for Toyota,” Carter said. “So we believe we’re poised for another solid year.”

Several things will drive that, Carter said. Pent-up demand is one, with the average age of the U.S. auto fleet reaching a record high of 11 years old, according to industry figures. Historically low rates for car loans is another, Carter said.

“Younger buyers are returning to the market at a higher rate than any other age category, which bodes well for market longevity and for all of us,” he said.

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Toyota’s sales maintain streak of year-over-year increases

March 1st, 2013 No comments

Toyota Motor Sales USA reported an increase in sales over the prior year for February, though the jump wasn’t quite as big as the last two.

Total sales of Lexus, Toyota and Scion vehicles were 166,377 units in February, up 4.7 percent in volume and 8.7 percent on a daily selling rate from the same period last year. The increase was led by the full-size Avalon sedan (sales up 63 percent) and the crossover RAV 4, whose sales were up 5 percent and recorded its best February ever with 13,329 units sold. Sales of the Corolla, which is made in Blue Springs, increased 12.9 percent.

The modest jump comes after two straight reporting periods that saw increases of more than 20 percent. Overall sales in 2012 were up 26 percent over 2011. Sales for January 2013, which had one more selling day than the prior year, jumped 21.6 percent.

Toyota group vice president and general manager Bill Fay said in a press release that February’s numbers were especially gratifying, because the month had several roadblocks.

“Despite rising gas prices, severe winter storms and concerns about the federal budget, February was a good indication of the overall strength of the market,” Fay said. “With the most fuel efficient full line of vehicles, Toyota is well positioned and we’re encouraged by very positive consumer reaction to our new Avalon and RAV4.”

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Toyota settles unintended acceleration claims

February 18th, 2013 No comments

Attorney General Jim Hood announced Monday morning Mississippi was one of 29 states to settle with Toyota Motor Corp. related to unintended acceleration issues in some of the company’s vehicles.

Mississippi will receive $561,288 of the $29 million Toyota will pay to settle consumer protection claims. Toyota will also be banned from advertising safety features of its vehicles without what a press release from Hood’s office calls “sound engineering data to back such safety claims.”

Mississippi and the 28 other states claimed during the litigation that Toyota had engaged in unfair and deceptive practices when the company failed to timely disclose known safety defects with accelerator pedals.

“Our investigation led us to determine poor communication between Toyota’s nerve center in Japan and Toyota’s United States holdings were partially responsible for Toyota’s failure to report known safety issues in a timely manner,” Hood is quoted as saying in the release.

In addition, the settlement provides that Toyota is:

• Prohibited from reselling a vehicle it reacquired with alleged safety defects without informing the purchaser about the alleged defect(s) and certifying that the reacquired vehicle has been fixed

• Prohibited from misrepresenting the purpose of an inspection or repair when directing consumers to bring their vehicles to a dealer for inspection or repair

• Required to exclude from the “Toyota Certified Used Vehicles” or “Lexus Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles” categories any vehicle acquired through lemon law proceedings or voluntarily repurchased by Toyota to ensure customer satisfaction.

Consumers who have questions about restitution related to the settlement can call one of two hotlines Toyota has set up. For Toyota vehicles, call 800-331-4331. For Lexus vehicles, call 800-255-3987.

Lines are staffed from 8 a.m. CST to 8 p.m. CST Monday thru Friday, and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. CST to 6 p.m. CST.

Toyota settled late last year separate litigation related to the same issues. The company agreed to pay out $1.1 billion, and to set up a fund that would retrofit affected vehicles with technology to counter the unintended acceleration.

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Fiscal year 2012 brought Toyota big jumps in operating, net income

February 5th, 2013 No comments

Toyota’s net revenues for the nine-month period that ended Dec. 31 were 16.2 trillion yen (about $174.8 billion).

That represented a 26 percent increase over the same period last fiscal year. The company announced the results Tuesday.

Operating income increased 117.1 billion yen ($1.3 billion), to 818.5 billion yen ($88.2 billion). Net income increased from 162.5 billion yen to 648.1 billion yen ($6.9 billion).

The company attributed the increase in operating income to successful marketing efforts that generated 660.0 billion yen ($7.1 billion) and reducing costs by 320 billion yen ($3.5 billion).

Consolidated vehicle sales for the nine months totaled 6.629 million units, an increase of 1.634 million units compared to the same period last year.

In Japan, vehicle sales totaled 1.668 million units, an increase of 310,564 units compared to the same period last fiscal year. In North America, vehicle sales totaled 1.865 million units, an increase of 596,587 units compared to the prior year.

Also on Tuesday, Toyota revised its consolidated vehicle sales forecast for fiscal year 2013 from 8.75 million units to 8.85 million units, an increase of 100,000 units from the previous forecast announced last November. The upward adjustment was attributed to an expected jump in North American sales.

The company also said it expects fiscal year 2013 consolidated net revenue to reach 21 trillion yen ($226.5 billion), operating income of 1.15 trillion yen ($10.8 billion), and net income of 860 billion yen ($9.3 billion).

“We believe that our efforts have been bearing fruit and that we are finally on the road to sustainable growth,” Toyota senior managing officer Takahiko Ijichi said in a company press release. “We will continue our efforts to build ever-better cars and to move forward in a steadfast manner.”

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