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Toyota’s January sales growth nearly doubles industry average

February 4th, 2013 No comments

Toyota’s sales in 2012 were up 26 percent over 2011, and that trend continued the first month of 2013.

The company sold 157,725 units in January, an increase of 26.6 percent over the same period from last year.

That’s despite January 2012 having one more selling day than last month.

“The sales pace we saw in the fourth quarter of last year rolled into January, exceeding our expectations for the industry,” Bill Fay, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager of Toyota Motor Sales USA, said in a company press release.

The automotive industry as a whole had its best January since 2008. Sales growth spread across all manufacturers averaged 14 percent from last January. Toyota’s 26 percent increase nearly doubled that figure. Ford Motor Co.’s 22 percent increase was second best.

Sales of the Corolla, which is made in Blue Springs, were up 32 percent, with 23,822 units sold.

To see Toyota’s entire January sales chart, click here.

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Toyota’s 2012 sales up 26 percent over 2011

January 3rd, 2013 No comments

Toyota sold about 418,000 more vehicles in 2012 than it did in 2011.

The numbers came from Toyota’s year-end sales figures, which the company released Thursday afternoon. Total units sold for 2012 were 2,082,504, up from 1,644,661 in 2011. That represented an increase of 26.6 percent.

Sales across all auto companies were 14.5 million, the highest since 2007.

Sales of the Corolla, which is built in Blue Springs, were also up 21.1 percent this year over last. The Corolla was the compamy’s second most popular model as far as total units sold, behind the Camry. Sales of vehicles made in North America were up 28.4 percent. Selling days for each year were the same, at 307.

Click the link below for the entire chart.

Toyota 2012 sales

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Toyota executive: U.S. sales trending upward

November 28th, 2012 No comments

Toyota Motor Sales USA president and CEO Jim Lentz sounded optimistic Tuesday about the future of the automotive industry.

Lentz was speaking at the National Automobile Dealers Association’s Western Automotive Conference in Los Angeles.

Lentz cited industry data that projected total U.S. sales for all automakers in 2012 would reach 14.3 million vehicles, which would be an increase of about 500,000 from 2011. Lentz listed pent-up demand as one of the market conditions driving up sales.

“In the U.S., there are more than 245 million cars on the road, and the average age of these vehicles has hit a record high of 11 years old. More than 20-percent of these cars are over 16 years old. Second, car loans have never been cheaper. Banks are charging the lowest interest rates since the Federal Reserve began its survey of loans over four decades ago. Third, and the best news, the J.D. Power Information Network says younger buyers are returning to the market at a higher rate than any other age category, which bodes well for market longevity.”

A large portion of those returning buyers, Lentz said, will be Hispanics. Lentz cited industry research whose results showed the U .S. Hispanic population will have $1.5 trillion in buying power by 2015.

Lentz also touched on a number of safety initiatives Toyota has going. The company partnered with the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute to conduct a distracted driving study that involved 5,500 teens and adults. The study’s preliminary results found that teens’ distracted driving habits are an emulation of their parents’ behavior. The results also showed that teens texted while driving 26 times more than their parents thought they did.

“As a father, one of the key takeaways I got from the study is, you need to be the driver you want your teen to be,” Lentz said.

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Toyota to unveil new safety features in upcoming models

November 13th, 2012 No comments

Toyota has developed what the company calls a Pre-Collision System designed to help mitigate automobile collisions, even those that occur at high speeds.

The new system uses millimeter-wave radar that detects the risk of rear-end collisions with a preceding vehicle, the company said in a press release. The PCS warns the driver using sound and display alerts to hit the brakes once a risk is detected.

Once a driver depresses the brakes, the system kicks in with its own brake pressure that is twice what is normally applied. That enables vehicle deceleration up to four times faster than normal.

The PCS was developed for a wide range of Toyota’s vehicles, and will be launched in some of the company’s upcoming models. The company didn’t say whether the Corolla, which is made in Blue Springs, will be one.

Toyota has also started operations at its new Intelligent Transport System proving ground at its headquarters in Japan.

The nine-acre proving round simulates an urban environment, complete with replicated streets and traffic signals, and is equipped with a road-to-vehicle communications system that detects other vehicles and pedestrians.

The course, Toyota says, will speed up the company’s research and development of systems designed to improve fuel efficiency and allow for safer driving, especially in urban areas with heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

The proving ground R&D will also include next-generation cooperative systems between vehicles and infrastructure, similar to the communications systems in place that allow for interaction between cars and intersections with poor visibility.

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Toyota set to debut new ad tagline, replacing 8-year-old ‘Moving Forward’

September 12th, 2012 No comments

Since 2004, Toyota has tagged its advertising with “Moving Forward.”

That will change come Dec. 31.

Company president Akio Toyoda announced Tuesday at the Toyota National Dealer Meeting in Las Vegas that “Let’s Go Places” will debut as part of the roll out for the redesigned 2013 Avalon sedan.

A Toyota press release said the company used a team of six ad agencies it’s employed for past campaigns to come up with the new slogan and the branding initiative that will drive it.

“’Let’s Go Places’ speaks to the evolution of Toyota and our commitment to leading through innovation, enriching lives and connecting with customers in new ways they define,” said Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. “It is energetic, aspirational, inclusive and very versatile. The phrase conveys a dual meaning of physically going places and taking off on an adventure, while also expressing optimism and the promise of exciting innovation that enriches people’s lives. It allows our associates, customers, dealers, and suppliers to interpret it in ways that are most personally relevant to them.”

After the campaign for the new Avalon, “Let’s Go Places” will spread to ads for the other six newly designed Toyota and Scion vehicles, until it’s a part of all national and regional print and digital advertising.

Among the redesigns is the Corolla, made at Toyota’s Blue Springs plant. The facility, which started production last November, will start making the 2014 Corolla some time next year, along with the company’s plant in Canada.

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Nissan announces openings in wake of poor national jobs report

September 7th, 2012 No comments

The August jobs report issued Friday morning was mostly met with disappointment, but there was some good news at Canton’s Nissan plant.

The company is looking for maintenance technicians. Candidates with a minimum of five years industrial tech experience are invited to go online to create a profile and submit a resume. Nissan will then select applicants for a round of in-person interviews.

Nissan recently announced that its Canton facility would add the Sentra compact sedan, the Xterra SUV and the Frontier compact truck to its production line. The company will still make the full-size Titan truck, Armada SUV and the mid-size Altima sedan in Canton. New hires to produce the expanded lineup will create a total of 1,000 new jobs, officials announced in June. Total employment at the facility is expected to reach 4,500.

With those additions, total employment at the facility, which opened in 2003, is expected to reach 4,500. To compare, the Toyota plant in Blue Springs employs a little more than 2,000 people directly, but it only produces one vehicle – the Corolla compact sedan.

To apply for a maintenance tech position at Nissan, go here.

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Toyota executive: Company fully recovered from last year’s tsunami

August 14th, 2012 No comments

The senior vice president for Toyota Motor Sales USA said Tuesday morning that the automaker is having a much better go of it than this time last year.

Bob Carter, speaking at the J.P. Morgan Auto Conference in New York, said overall sales were up 26 percent for July and 30 percent for the year, mostly because Toyota can again meet its demand as its Japanese facilities get back online after last year’s tsunami. To add to that, Carter said, the company is growing because several new versions of old products are selling well.

Sales of the new Camry, for example, were 39 percent higher in July than for the same period in 2011. It’s still the best-selling car in America, holding a 60,000 unit lead over the second place Honda Accord.

Carter didn’t offer any new numbers associated with the Corolla – though he did mention the plant in Blue Springs – there was some news that could potentially have an impact in Mississippi. For a few months now, rumors have flown – and have not exactly been denied by Toyota executives – that the Blue Springs facility could eventually build the Prius to go with the Corolla.

Combined sales of the new Prius v and the original Prius liftback have set retail volume records every month from last November until July, maintaining 43 percent of the hybrid market share.

Overall, Toyota expects sales of 2 million units in 2012, which would mean an 18 percent jump from last year.

 

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Gulfport nonprofit wins new Toyota as part of 100 Cars for Good

June 11th, 2012 No comments

Toyota recently kicked off 100 Cars for Good, an initiative that will award a new car to 100 nonprofits through late August.

Among the first 25 organizations to receive a car was Feed My Sheep, a  faith-based program that provides nourishment to the homeless, homebound and the needy in the Gulfport area.

Winners are determined by an online vote on www.100carsforgood.com and via Facebook. Feed My Sheep learned June 7 that it had beaten four other nonprofits for the right to a new Toyota. (Toyota will profile five nonprofits on its 100 Cars for Good Facebook page each day until August 21 before users vote for who should receive a car.)

Winning is a big deal for Feed My Sheep. According to the organization’s website, it delivered 7,504 meals to the homebound in May 2012. A new Toyota could certainly help with that part of Feed My Sheep’s outreach.

To learn more about Feed My Sheep click here. To see all the nonprofits that won a car in the first round of 100 Cars for Good, click here.

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Official: Automotive support manufacturers looking at Starkville

February 14th, 2012 No comments

Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority President Jon Maynard said at a meeting of that organization Monday that two manufacturers with ties to the automotive industry have started kicking the tires on possible sites in the Starkville area.

According to a story on the Starkville Daily News‘ website, Maynard declined to name the companies, citing confidentiality agreements. Starkville is almost exactly halfway between Canton and Blue Springs, and would make a good geographical match for a company that wanted to do business with Nissan and Toyota. Four-lane highways connect the three cities, so this will certainly be something to keep an eye on.

Maynard also updated the progress on a few other projects that have been simmering for a while in Starkville, including the mixed-use CottonMill Marketplace. The SDN has it covered here.

Toyota’s arrival well-deserved for NE Mississippi

November 17th, 2011 No comments

BLUE SPRINGS  — At the “line-off” ceremony Thursday at the massive Toyota facility in Blue Springs, everybody — and I mean everybody – who spoke offered the same reason we were there in the first place: Northeast Mississippi’s workforce is spectacularly skilled.

It’s hard to argue with that. This region was the furniture manufacturing capitol of the state before a lot of those jobs went overseas early in the 21st Century. People here are good at building stuff. Now 2,000 of those people will play some role in building the Corolla.

>> SEE RELATED STORY: THE HILLS ARE ALIVE!

Regular readers know that the hill country was where I was born and raised, and that it’s still my home, even though I live and work in Jackson. So I’m biased, sure, but what I’m about to tell you didn’t come from me. It came from the fellow I sat next to on the media bus once the festivities ended: The people here are the nicest in the world, and it’s not even close.

And he would know. I didn’t catch his name, but he was a correspondent for Al-Jazeera English. He was originally from the United Kingdom, had recently left the BBC, and was now stationed out of Miami.

So when he says the people in Northeast Mississippi are the nicest in the world, it means something. “They’re just over the moon,” he said. He had spent the two days prior to Thursday talking to folks at greasy spoons, gas stations, their homes, anywhere he could find somebody who had an opinion about Toyota. “I wish my work would bring me here more often,” he said.

And that’s what we want people to say about us, right? That we’re nice and we’re good at building stuff. Not just any kind of stuff, but advanced machines like the 10th generation Toyota Corolla, which is the best-selling car in the world.

That’s what Akio Toyoda, whose grandfather started Toyota, said.

“We’re here because of the workforce,”he hammered out in broken English.

“Mississippi’s workforce is the best there is,” Toyota Mississippi President Masafumi Hamaguchi managed to say in even more broken English.

“The first thing Toyota told us when they picked us was that it was because of the workforce,” Gov. Haley Barbour said in his signature drawl.

No matter the style of the language, the message is the same.

That doesn’t mean everything will be perfect, either. If the recession double dips and the economy takes another major tumble, demand for new cars will drop just like it did in 2008 and 2009. That will mean hard decisions have to be made at every Toyota manufacturing plant. A drop in demand is the single reason why Thursday didn’t happen in 2010 instead of 2011.

There could be recalls and quality crises or any number of things. It happens.

But that’s for then. Thursday was a good day in Northeast Mississippi, and the people up here earned it.

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