Despite watching its light-vehicle deliveries tumble 24.1% in June to 110,937,held off -Kia in a closely contested sales race, besting its Korean-based competitors by 6,684 units, according to Ward’s data.
June may have been-Kia’s last chance to slip past in the U.S. market, as the Japanese giant is poised to awaken from a sales slump linked to production disruptions following the March earthquake and tsunami in its home country.
Toyota executives, in a conference call with reporters and analysts, say output at all the auto maker’s facilities will be running at pre-disaster levels come September.
“An influx of new products is slated for later this year,” says Don Esmond, senior vice president-automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. “We’re extremely optimistic about the second half of 2011.”
New vehicles set to launch before year’s end include the new Camry, which Toyota says will boast “technologically advanced features, contemporary design and refined ride and handling.”
The new Prius V hybrid-electric vehicle, Scion iQ and an all-new Yaris, announced today, also will be hitting the U.S. market this year, Esmond says.
Although inventory levels across all Toyota and Lexus models are due to be replenished, immediate relief is coming for consumers seeking the hard-to-find Prius HEV.
Prius sales in June plummeted 62.0%, compared with year-ago, to 4,340 units.
About 36,000 Prius units are due to arrive at U.S. ports this summer, Esmond says, adding “Prius production for the remainder of the year will top year-ago levels.”
June also saw Toyota trucks outsell passenger cars. While deliveries of popular sedan models, such as the Camry, tumbled 26.4%, trucks picked up the slack with a more modest 17.6% decline.
Toyota’s total truck deliveries in the month slid 15.8%, while cars plummeted 30.7%, Ward’s data indicates.
Toyota’s Lexus luxury lineup particularly was hard-hit by inventory shortages, Esmond says, with car deliveries plunging 41.7% to 4,942 units and trucks dropping 39.0% to 5,831.
However, Esmond says the majority of Lexus models now are being built at pre-disaster levels. “Models are arriving in ports, and shipments will double in July and increase again in August as dealers fill to near-normal levels.”
With inventories stabilizing, Toyota is launching an aggressive marketing campaign to spur demand. Beginning now, the auto maker is offering 0% financing for 60 months on the Camry and Tundra and 0% for 36 months on the Corolla, Sienna, Venza and Highlander.
“Dealers have a good supply of cars and trucks, and it’s growing every day,” Esmond says. “And the new marketing puts dealers in a great position to take advantage of the summer-selling season.”