is one of only two Asian OEMs to increase market penetration in the U.S. this year, hurting competitors that enjoyed similar gains in 2011 when the auto maker was short on inventory.
Gains in light trucks, such as Tacoma, boost Toyota through February.
With only two months of light-vehicle deliveries in 2013, a pattern already is emerging: a re-invigoratedis eating into other Asian auto makers’ U.S. market share, after nearly two years of inventory woes resulting from Japan’s March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
On the strength of its 14.1% sales gain, beating the industry’s 8.3%,’s share through February rose to 14.6% from 13.8% year-ago, according to WardsAuto data, while Asian competitors saw their combined U.S. share fall to 44.7% from 46.2%.
Through February,’s share dropped to 4.3% from 4.6% year-ago, Kia slipped to 3.5% from 3.9% and fell to 2.1% from 2.4%.
launched several high-volume models last year, including the next-generations Sentra compact sedan and Pathfinder cross/utility vehicle. But that wasn’t enough to prevent a nearly full percentage-point share decline, to 8.1% from 9.0%, in the combined January-February period.
Even, which also dealt with earthquake-related supply shortages and was expected by analysts to recover as strongly as Toyota this year, has seen its U.S. LV share (including Acura) slip to 9.1% from 9.4% year-ago.
Subaru has been the lone Asian brand to buck the trend, with its share through February up to 2.5% from 2.3%.
The reasons vary for the sluggish performance among Toyota’s competition. For many, declining demand for older products is blunting the effect of growing sales of newer models.
’s best-selling car, the 3-year-old Sonata midsize sedan, saw deliveries dip more than 8.0% through February, while deliveries for Kia’s hot-selling 4-year-old Soul compact tumbled 10.7%. Kia also continued to see weakness in its light-truck lineup, a segment in which Toyota sales jumped 20.4%.
Acura enjoyed increased demand for its new RDX CUV and added 3,555 sales of its new ILX compact sedan, while all other of the brand’s models saw double-digit losses.
sales dipped 3.0% through February, as nearly all its light-truck nameplates, including the Infiniti brand, were down compared with year-ago. Altima deliveries also dropped 11.1%, despite the midsize-sedan’s recent redesign.
Toyota also led the way in reduced inventory at the end of February, with 53 days compared with Nissan’s 62 and’s 68. Acura’s 101 days’ was the biggest supply among the Asian brands for the month. Although that was down from January’s 121, it was a considerable increase from 62 days’ in like-2012.
Toyota did see some loss in the midsize-car segment last month, when a gain in Camry hybrid sales was unable to offset a decline in the gasoline-powered model as well as growth by key competitors, the Honda Accord andFusion.
In a recent conference call, Toyota Div. Group Vice President Bill Fay said he continues to have confidence in the Camry, noting an advertising blitz for the new Accord and Fusion likely is drawing buyers to those models.
Toyota reportedly is offering 0% financing on all non-hybrid ’13 Camrys in March to spur sales of the car.