The Latest Breaking News:

Toyota Canada

Record 2002 Toyota and Lexus sales propel Toyota Canada to best year ever:

shoppers drug mart

TORONTO, Jan. 3 (2003)/CNW/ - Record-breaking sales from both its Toyota and Lexus Divisions during 2002 catapulted Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) to its best year ever with combined retails totalling 152,766 units. That's 19.6 per cent better than last year's 127,754 sales, and a hefty 22,901 unit improvement over the previous record of 129,865, set in 1999.

Toyota enjoyed ten record-setting months totalling 146,252 cars and trucks, up 19.7 per cent over 2001. With this momentum, Toyota dealers also sold 10,877 vehicles in December, an increase of 43 per cent compared to the same month last year.

The Lexus Division set 11 monthly records during 2002, with total sales of 6,514, 16.8 per cent better than last year's record of 5,575.

"These results are a tribute to our entire team and proof positive that Toyota has found the combination of product, quality and value that customers want," said Tony Wearing, Group Vice President of Vehicle Sales and Marketing at TCI.
"Record breaking performance by our core products Corolla (44,790), Camry (28,967) and Echo (23,909) formed a combination which made Toyota the number- one selling car division in Canada this year."

Corolla led the way due to expanded production at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. The Cambridge, Ontario plant also builds the newly-launched Corolla Matrix which sold out at 7,327 in its first year.

Toyota's trucks were record breakers too with annual sales of 36,811, surpassing the previous record set in 1998. The entire range of Toyota trucks was up 49.4 per cent compared to last December, led by the all-new 2003 4Runner, up 257.4 per cent, and the value-priced Tundra which had a record sales month, up 146 per cent over December last year.

Toyota sales gain on Daimler's
Incursion may signal end of stranglehold by Big Three on the top of auto market

AUTO INDUSTRY REPORTER (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)
Wednesday, June 4, 2003 - Page B4

Toyota Canada Inc. crept closer to DaimlerChrysler Canada Inc. in the monthly vehicle sales race in May, signalling that the end may be near for the Big Three auto makers' decades-long stranglehold on the top of the market.

Toyota rode the best sales month in its history in Canada to move within less than 3,000 vehicles of the Chrysler group. The gap between the two auto makers was about 4,000 vehicles in April.

Toyota sold 20,910 cars, trucks, sport utility vehicles and minivans in Canada last month -- 10 per cent more than in the year-earlier period -- compared with 23,901 for the Chrysler group, whose sales dropped 7 per cent in May from year-earlier levels.

"It's inevitable" that Toyota will overtake the Chrysler group, said Michael Robinet, vice-president of global forecast services for consulting firm CSM Worldwide Inc.

"Eventually Honda might get to that point, too," Mr. Robinet said from CSM's head office in Northville, Mich.

The crucial difference at the moment is that Toyota has some hot-selling new products and the Chrysler group doesn't.

"Go down the Toyota product list and everything is doing well," said Dennis DesRosiers, president of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc. of Richmond Hill, Ont.

The key new products for Toyota are the redesigned Sienna minivan and the Lexus RX330 sport utility vehicle. Such core vehicles as the Corolla compact and the Echo subcompact remain strong as well.

The only new product from the Chrysler group is the Pacifica crossover utility vehicle, which is not a high-volume seller in Canada.

The jump in sales by Toyota contributed to the relentless gain in market share by the offshore-based manufacturers at the expense of DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd. and General Motors of Canada Ltd.

Asia and Europe-based companies grabbed 41.8 per cent of the Canadian market last month, up from 39.6 per cent in May, 2002.

Toyota's share rose to 11.4 per cent from 10.3 per cent in May, 2002.

Toyota president Ken Tomikawa has promised to take the company's dealers to Japan if the company grabs 10 per cent of the market this year, dealers said.

"He's very, very aggressive," said one dealer, who noted Toyota's original sales target for this year was 165,000 vehicles, but the company could surpass 175,000 at its current pace.

Toyota refused requests for an interview with Mr. Tomikawa for this article.

"It's having a well-balanced group of products that are right for the marketplace," vice-president of government and public affairs Stephen Beatty said yesterday.

There has never been a discussion of surpassing DaimlerChrysler or other competitors, Mr. Beatty said, but Toyota seeks to maintain its kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement.

"Every product is performing well," said Normand Hébert, who owns a Montreal-area Toyota dealership. "They're aggressive in the marketplace. They just seem to have momentum right now."

The auto maker is building on its traditional strength in cars, where the Corolla and the crossover utility vehicle Matrix soared last month -- 27 per cent and 229 per cent, respectively. Toyota sold 15,523 cars last month, almost three times as many as the 5,773 sold by Chrysler. For the second straight month, Canadians bought more Toyota cars than Chrysler and Ford cars combined.

Even bigger gains for Toyota, however, have come on the truck side, where it now offers six sport utility vehicles, the same number as long-time SUV powerhouse Chrysler and one more than Ford.

Toyota's truck sales rose 23 per cent in the first five months of the year, outpacing the auto maker's overall sales growth of 9 per cent.

"They're really, really pushing trucks," said a western Canadian Toyota dealer. "They really want to get in that market."

The strategy has been to establish the Toyota truck brand, said Chris Travell, vice-president of the automotive group of Maritz Research in Toronto.

Most of the growth has come from the 4Runner SUV, up 200 per cent, the Lexus RX330 SUV, up 87 per cent and the Sienna with a 58-per-cent jump.

A good supply of Siennas has helped boost sales of that vehicle, Mr. Travell said. At the moment, it's the only minivan in the market with a split fold-down third seat.

"That's a point of differentiation," when buyers size up Sienna against the Honda Odyssey and the minivan offerings of DaimlerChrysler, Ford and GM, he said.

Over all, Canadian vehicle sales were essentially flat last month at 182,904, compared with 183,719 in May, 2002.


© Talbot Consultants International Inc.