Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. closed out 2008 on a sour note, with December sales plunging 36.7% based on daily rates. The December drop, coupled with nearly a year of monthly declines, cost Toyota 15.4% in volume, as 2008 sales slid to 2,217,660 units, compared with 2,620,826 in 2007. Although at the start of 2008 the auto maker forecast a volume gain of 1%-2%, “it’s clear now the economy was already in a recession,” Toyota Motor Sales President Jim Lentz says in a conference call ...

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