It's easier to be upbeat about the currently frenetic U.S. market when you're selling just about every vehicle you make, as is Toyota Motor Corp. But Jim Press, Toyota Motor Sales USA's chief operating officer and chairman of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, says he thinks the market's fine — and not just because Toyota's doing well.

Mr. Press says the U.S. economic “downturn” isn't as bad as purported and insists the U.S. market will see sales in the 16.5 million to 17 million unit range.

Toyota and its upscale Lexus division expect particularly solid sales to continue, Mr. Press says. He notes that this past May was Toyota's best sales month in its 44-year U.S.-market history. A record June helped Toyota post its best-ever second-quarter with sales of 466,858 units.

Mr. Press insists that consumers are not shy about spending because the economy is not ailing — and that automakers with solid products are experiencing record or near-record sales gains.

In that vein, Toyota has a clear winner with the all-new Highlander cross/utility vehicle, the recently revamped RAV4 compact sport/utility vehicle (SUV) and the Sequoia full-size SUV. The RAV4's year-to-date daily selling rate is nearly double that of its predecessor.

Mr. Press says Toyota is doing well because the company is developing and producing vehicles consumers desire and is selling most of them without incentives.