Toyota has marched inexorably towards the number one spot in the world for car/LCV production (excluding heavy vehicles). In 1998, Toyota made just under 5 million of such vehicles, well short of GM and Ford at the time. Ford was passed in 2005 and GM is only a matter of time. But now Toyota is being its sensible cautious and scaling back its growth. Even the most successful are not immune to the current downturn. However in Europe, it seems sales would have slipped anyway.
For the first ten months of 2008, ACEA reveals that the overall Euro market sales, excluding Russia, is down 5.4%, but Toyota is –13% and Lexus –27%. For October, -23% and –32 respectively in a market down 14.5%. Toyota is doing much worse than the market. Is it moving away from less profitable sales? It seems so.
Euro production has suffered accordingly. JD Power estimates Euro production was down a quarter or 18,000 units in October alone. YTD nearly 60,000 down or nearly 9%. The new Avensis should help a little but reverse this trend it will not. Overall, a damp year for Toyota/Lexus dealers in the Euro zone.