21 July 2009

Toyota/Lexus Steady

In 2005, Toyota/Lexus had 11.4% of the world's car/LCV market. It went to 12.1 in 2006 but 2007 and 2008 saw it steady on 12%. In that time (05-08), its Japanese component of unit manufacturing has gone down from 50% to 47.3%. USA car making has also gone down, from 18.1% to 14%, which surprised me. Canada from 4.4% to 3.6%, the UK from 3.8% to 2.7%. Meanwhile, Thailand is up from 6% to 7.2% and China from 2.1% to 6.9%.

Clearly a move from manufacturing in more mature markets toward emerging ones. Understandable considering that is where the sales growth is. I would say that Toyota still relies too heavily on Japanese manufacturing. With the Yen more realistically valued since the financial meltdown, the cost of manufacturing in Japan has increased greatly. This has seen the company go into loss making territory for the first time in its history. Had it moved more car making offshore earlier, it would be in a better position financially than it has become. Of course, hindsight provides 20/20 vision.

Toyota may lose a modest amount of world market share in 2009, as it feels the effect of the high Yen. It will not be a profitable year either.

The bottom line: If Toyota is losing money, then the world of car makers is in trouble.

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