One year after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami devastated its manufacturing system,posts a 25.5% increase in U.S. sales on a daily rate basis.
The No.1 Japanese brand delivered 178,044 light vehicles last month, some 15% of which were fleet sales.
“Anyway you look at it,, Lexus and Scion dealers outperformed the industry,” Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager-Toyota Div., tells media in a conference call.
Car models whose production was hardest hit by Japan’s natural disaster last year, including the Prius hybrid, Yaris subcompact and Lexus CT hybrid, saw the biggest increases in U.S. April sales, up more than 100% compared with year-ago.
New Prius variants are bringing new buyers to Toyota, Carter says. But the original liftback still reigns supreme, with 62% of the auto maker’s April Prius deliveries. The V wagon comprised 15% of the Prius’ mix, and the new C subcompact accounted for 16% of sales.
The new plug-in hybrid variant accounted for the remaining 7% of last month’s Prius deliveries. The car is on sale in only 14 U.S. states that follow California Air Resources Board emissions standards.
The Toyota Div., which includes the Scion youth brand, saw April deliveries climb 27.2% compared with year-ago. Sales of all Scion models were less than in like-2011 on a daily basis. The new iQ minicar added 962 units to Scion’s 5,503 tally.
Lexus deliveries increased 12.3% in the month. The CT sold a relatively hefty 1,620 units, and the new GS sedan helped send that nameplate’s deliveries soaring 486.2%.
Lexus’ best-selling model, the RX cross/utility vehicle, slipped 1.3% from year-ago. Toyota will be releasing a refreshed RX this month, which should help boost brand deliveries for the year, as should a new ES, Tim Morrison, Lexus vice president-sales, says in the call.
Toyota predicts a seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 14.3 million units for the U.S. for 2012, although Carter says he personally thinks the SAAR could go higher, due to the average age of U.S. vehicles and pent-up consumer demand from the recent economic downturn.
He is confident the Toyota brand’s 19 new or refreshed models will continue to drive demand, and estimates April’s market share at 15%, the highest since December 2010.
Carter believes there is more upside for Toyota’s share if it could get more Prius and Camry units, something the auto maker currently is working to do.
Toyota is offering 0% financing in May on seven models: the Corolla, Avalon, Tundra, Venza, RAV4, Highlander and Sienna, as well as low lease deals on most models, including the Camry.