’s U.S. sales in September mustered a 4.0% increase, reflecting a solid start by redesigned models such as the Corolla compact car in an industry dogged by fewer selling days in the month.
Sales of-, Lexus- and Scion-brand vehicles totaled 164,457 units over 23 selling days, compared with 171,910 through 25 days in the same period last year, according to WardsAuto data. On a straight volume basis, deliveries fell 4.3%.
“September was expected to be a bit of a challenging month from a statistical standpoint, due to a couple quirks in the calendar,” says Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager-Toyota Div.
The industry’s seasonally adjusted annual rate sank to a 5-month low of 15.24 million units, but on daily-rate basis deliveries rose more than 4.0%.
Toyota’s sales were buoyed by the redesigned-for-’14 Corolla, which accounted for just over half of the nameplate’s 23,040 purchases last month, up 10.3% vs. year-ago. It finished September as the best-selling compact car in the U.S.
“It’s off to a great start,” Fay says in a conference call today to discuss the automaker’s sales results. “Early buyer information is encouraging. We’re skewing younger, a little bit more male and the (range-topping) model is doing well.”
Sales of the Avalon large sedan tripled to 4,424 copies, also spurred by the arrival of a redesigned-for-’14 model.
Toyota’s bread-and-butter Camry midsize sedan saw sales crack the 30,000-unit mark for the ninth consecutive month, as deliveries increased 1.1% to 31,871 and the car retained its crown as the top-selling vehicle in America.
The Tacoma small pickup and its big brother the Tundra, which launched sales of a new-for-’14 model today, combined for 20,550 deliveries.
Fay says marketing activities around the new Tundra begin this month, as rivalalso begins pushing its redesigned large pickups.
The softest point for the brand in September was the Prius hybrid lineup, which saw sales decline 8.8% to 15,890 units for one of its weakest monthly performances of the year.
Fay says a strong August left Toyota tight on Prius inventories. “We did run into a supply issue,” he says.
Toyota remained the king of hybrid sales in the month, commanding a 68% share.
Toyota’s Lexus luxury brand drew momentum from gains by the redesigned IS sports sedan, LS large sedan and RX line of cross/utility vehicles.
Jeff Bracken, group vice president and general manager-Lexus Div., says high-performance F-Sport models of the IS have been particularly hot and accounted for one-third of all IS volume last month.
“At this point, we are unable to meet demand for the IS F-Sport,” he says.
Sales at the budget-minded Scion brand fell 17.3% to 5,131 units, evidence of a model-year changeover, Fay says.
Looking ahead, he says the automaker remains optimistic about the fourth quarter.
“We expect the industry volume to bounce back into the plus column,” Fay says. “Both the industry and the economic fundamentals remain strong.”