November sales got a small bump from Sandy victims looking to replace water-damaged vehicles or take advantage of lease specials and deferred payments.
Prius faces threat from Ford C-Max.
sales jumped 17.2% in November compared with year-ago, with credit going to incentives offered in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, pent-up demand and other factors.
The auto maker delivered 133,370-brand units in November, followed by Lexus with 22,719 and Scion with 5,606, for a total of 161,695, according to WardsAuto data. There were 25 selling days both last month and in November 2011.
Year-to-date deliveries surged 28.8% over like-2011 to 1.89 million.
Vehicle replacement following Sandy accounted for a small but notable uptick in sales, Bill Fay, Toyota group vice president and general manager, tells reporters during a conference call.
“We estimate about 25,000 vehicles industrywide were replaced. That recovery process will likely carry over for a few months into the first quarter,” he says, estimating that 3,000 of those vehicles were Toyota, Lexus or Scion products.
The Port of Newark in New Jersey was temporarily shuttered in the storm’s aftermath but is now up and running, as are several dealers impacted by the storm. Sales also are getting a boost by some Sandy-affected customers who are eligible for deferred payments and a special lease program, Fay says.
Toyota’s best-selling vehicle in November was the Camry with 24,829 deliveries, followed closely by the Corolla with 22,616, WardsAuto data shows. Sales of hybrid and plug-in hybrids across the auto maker’s lineup totaled 24,650 units, led by the Prius hybrid with 11,615.
Showroom traffic is picking up as consumers look to replace aging vehicles and consider attractive financing options, Fay says, “and we’re starting to see a surge of young buyers come back to the market. That’s happening in part because of these low finance rates.”
Toyota’s “Toyotathon” and Lexus’ “December to Remember” seasonal sales events will result in a strong finish to the year, he predicts. “We’re very optimistic that between Toyotathon and our offers in the marketplace, we will continue the momentum.”
The auto maker does face competition from rivals Nissan,, and Kia, all of whom exceeded sales expectations in November. Toyota’s Prius family may lose some ground to ’s all-new C-Max Hybrid, which posted 4,848 deliveries last month.
Fay, however, is not concerned about the C-Max, as Toyota has focused on educating sales staff about the value of the various Prius powertrains. “The dealers are getting a little bit more comfortable with it, and we’re starting to make some more progress with it,” he says.
Lexus credits nine refreshed models for its 15.0% improvement in year-to-date sales, but admits it had short supply of its revised LS sedan, which had its first full sales month in November.
“We’re still trying to build the stock,” says Tim Morrison, vice president-sales and dealer development. “The volumes aren’t there to the degree we’d like.”