Toyota is Still on Top . . . and Other Manufacturers are Taking Notice
Despite gains made by General Motors and Volkswagen, Toyota remained in the lead in worldwide auto sales in 2013. In addition, Toyota has claimed that 2014 will be the year that it sees sales top 10 million. Should this come to pass, Toyota would be the first car manufacturer to achieve the feat. And they don’t have far to go. Sales last year came in at 9.8 million worldwide, up 2% from 2012. The company also predicts that they will rely less on sales in Japan and more on overseas markets, particularly China, which is poised to see sales of well over twenty million passenger vehicles this year.'
In the United States, the expectation is for overall car sales to reach 16 million for the first time since 2006. Though Ford and General Motors still have an edge in the U.S., Toyota remains the best selling Japanese import and is gaining ground on its two biggest American rivals. In particular, Toyota remains the favorite in the hybrid market, with the Prius outselling all other models combined, and sales of the flagship hybrid model account for 11% of Toyota’s sales in the States. A complete redesign of the model in 2015 also promises to keep the Prius at the head of the hybrid pack.
Tapping the Chinese Connection
Sales in China are also expected to rise in 2014. In the first two months of this year, sales in the country are already up 41% from 2013. Other Asian brands (particularly Nissan) saw their sales slip over the same period. Though General Motors and Volkswagen have edged out Toyota in recent years, the company is gaining significant ground and expects to sell 1.1 million cars in China this year.
There was a slight dip in sales figures in America at the beginning of the year, particularly in states that were pummeled with severe winter weather. However, now that the temperatures are beginning to rise, buyers are expected to return to the lots and the overall impact of the slow winter should be negligible. In the northeast, from Maine to New Jersey, Toyota sales are expected to be strong as the buying public warms along with the weather and a solid March is projected to make up for snow-dampened sales in January and February.
With their solid position as the worldwide leader in automotive sales, Toyota has a lot to live up to.
Considering the market trends, however, 2014 is likely to see Toyota retain the designation of world’s largest car manufacturer.
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