Toyota Tries to Reverse US Sales Slump

24 November 2008

TORRANCE, California: Toyota's US sales fell by 23% in October, and the Japanese auto giant is attempting to stave-off the US sales slump by introducing bigger purchase incentives for customers and cutting production output.

A low-cost finance promotion in September is said to have boosted sales of eight of the company's eleven models, and it has now increased its traditional Thanksgiving holiday incentives beyond the levels on offer last year.

Bob Carter, general manager of Toyota's US sales operations, said there has been a "moderate improvement" in November, but the situation is still "not what any of us would describe as normal".

Carter further argues that Toyota's incentives are lower than the industry average, and that the main impediment to sales growth is not credit constraints, but low consumer confidence.

Toyota has also increased the length of the Christmas closure of its US plants by two days, and will slow production at factories building models including the Camry, Avalon and Tacoma pick-up truck in January.

Overall, US auto sales for all brands fell to 10.6 million units in October, down from 16m in the year-ago period, and also on the 12.5m units sold in September this year.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff