Friday, 27 April, 2007 10:50 PM
Toyota tops GM in 1st Quarter
sales but expert says don't worry
BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com
Toyota Prius has led the automaker's sales hike with a 72.9% increase
in sales in the 1st Quarter of 2007 compared to 1st Quarter sales
Toyota has sold more
cars and trucks than General Motors globally for the first time
ever. An expert says GM will remain competitive and still has confidence
in the American automaker during its turnaround period.
Toyota Motor Corp. sold
2.35 million vehicles in the 1st Quarter of 2007. That is an increase
of 9% from the same time period in 2006. It is also a sales record
for the automaker.
Reasons for the surge
in sales at Toyota are attributed to the popularity of the Prius,
Camry and the Corolla. The automaker has already sold 45,000 models
of the Prius. That is a jump of 72.9% from the previous year. The
Camry has already sold 119,800 models in the 1st Quarter. That is
an increase of 6.8% from 2006. Toyota has sold 92,629 copies of
the Corolla, a climb of 1.7% from a year ago.
it's the price of fuel. The Federal Tax credits are still in effect.
There was an increase in production," said Irv Miller,
vice president of corporate communications at Toyota. The automaker
has set a goal of producing 175,000 copies of the Prius hybrid car
Toyota also sees the
growth continuing over the next few quarters. "We hope
too. Our customers will determine our sales plan. That's our target,"
This year was the first
time Toyota stock cars were driven in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series.
Toyota has been a part of the Craftsman Truck Series and the NASCAR
Busch series for the last few years. "We certainly
got a lot of coverage in NASCAR involvement. I would imagine it
increased sales," Miller stated.
Toyota has been expanding
at a very fast pace. The automaker is constructing a manufacturing
plant in Mississippi that will be open by 2010. The plant will have
the capacity of building 150,000 vehicles per year. Toyota has also
been increasing its incentives on its vehicles.
releases sales figures for Q1 of 2007
At GM, total sales for
the 1st Quarter were 2.26 million vehicles worldwide. That is a
jump of 3% from the previous year and also a sales record for the
The best-selling brand
at General Motors was Saturn, which seen an increase of 20% in sales
for the 1st Quarter over that time period a year ago. GMC was the
second best-selling brand with sales going up a little over 6% in
the 1st Quarter. Chevrolet rounded out the top three brands at GM
with a sales hike of 4% during the quarter.
a record 1st Quarter. We are successful and will grow. We're not
concerned with a race. We're going to keep doing the same things,"
said John McDonald, spokesman for GM sales and marketing communications.
McDonald wants to set
the record straight that GM is not concerned with its competitors.
"People are making it a race at Number One. The North
American retail market is stabilizing. We're continuing to execute
our plan," the spokesman said.
"GM is taking
tough medicine in North America. We've reduced incentive spending
by $700. Pulling 100,000 rental units enables us to have more profitable
products. We're taking advantage of emerging markets,"
In terms of hybrid cars,
GM has the Saturn Vue already on the road. General Motors will have
a hybrid version of the Saturn Aura and the Chevy Malibu on the
road by the end of 2007. Those vehicles will both be a 2008 model.
Those hybrid automobiles will make GM more competitive with Toyota.
The American automaker already has 2 million E-85 ethanol-ready
vehicles on the road.
McDonald said GM is never
content with sales. The automaker is always looking for more. GM
faces competition from lots of manufacturers, most of which are
not global competitors. GM is not concerned with rankings. They
look at all the other manufacturers collectively.
relevant is to make the best cars and trucks, " said
the GM spokesman.
expert says don't worry about GM
Cole is the chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann
Arbor. He has been following the auto industry for the last 30 years.
Cole believes GM falling to second place in sales will not make
a difference. He says that GM's recent changes are moving the automaker
in the right direction.
factor for General Motors is the upcoming labor conference, which
will be held this summer. If an agreement is reached, it would be
a plus for GM. Cole is confident that there will be a new agreement
reached between GM and the UAW.
GM has to continue is current restructuring plan. If they are innovative,
the automaker will prosper and their future will be bright. "I
would stay on the same course. Toyota and Honda are really establishing
a benchmark," said Cole.
of C.A.R. believes GM is turning around like it should. He highlights
the fact that GM won Car and Truck of the Year Awards at the recent
2007 North American International Auto Show. If the auto maker produces
the Volt hybrid electric car, they will exceed the fuel economy
of the Toyota Prius. "If they use E85, they're fuel
economy would be over 400 mpg," Cole stated.
cut its sales to rental companies by 100,000 and will do the same
next year. Rental sales were not profitable for the automaker. By
not selling to rental companies like Enterprise, GM gets to keep
the residual value of its cars and trucks higher. This move will
increase the value of new car sales over the long run. However,
if GM were to have sold 100,000 vehicles to rental companies, their
total sales would have been higher than Toyota for the 1st Quarter.
of China, General Motors is the number one automaker. "It's
a very competitive market. Everybody's growing in China,"
the chairman of C.A.R. added.
the 2nd Quarter, Cole believes that Toyota will continue its growth
and GM will grow with continued discipline. The expert does not
see a spurt in sales of new cars because of the soft housing market.
think the trends are likely to continue. Stay tuned. It's gonna
be an interesting period of time," Cole added.
BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com
of the Saturn Vue drove GM to record sales in the 1st Quarter of