Toyota just keeps roaring back — Aug. 8, 2013

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Toyota 2013

Toyota just keeps back


Amid the of bankruptcy in the city of Detroit, one spot has been the performance of its automakers.

General Motors ( GM. 500 ). Ford ( F. Fortune 500 ). and Chrysler been gaining ground competitors, posting solid and winning historic praise for the and drivability of their products. are producing standouts in some of the most hotly contested The mid-size Ford Fusion is as fast as dealers can load the trucks, while the full-size Impala has won an unprecedentedly high from influential Consumer .

But a closer look at the sales and financial results just reveal that the big winner for the of July was — hold for it Toyota.

That assertion draw hoots and hollers Detroit loyalists. They out — correctly — the local teams have market share this while Toyota ( TM ) has lost a And they will complain also correctly — Toyota is getting an unfair from the cheap yen and is boosting with unusually high

All true. Yet take a look at happened last month:

Americans bought cars and with the Toyota emblem on the than with the Chevrolet Baseball, hot dogs, apple and Toyota, anyone? That’s the far lower number of Toyota and Toyota being far less in the industry’s hottest segment: pickup trucks .

—Also in Toyota Motor Sales in the sold more light than Ford Motor Co. again despite having far dealers and selling far fewer Ford has been having a year, but last month, outsold it to become the second-largest car in America.

—Toyota appears on its way toward producing more 10 million vehicles worldwide year, which would an all-time record for any automaker. GM and will have to fight it out second place.

As one analyst gleefully exclaimed, The are back!

Toyota’s July came despite the announcement it would pay $1.6 billion to vehicle owners who suffered losses as a result of sudden, acceleration between 2009 and The settlement will compensate owners who sold or traded in vehicles at a loss with to $10,000 per car, depending on the of depreciation. It does not, cover individual personal and wrongful death lawsuits will have to be contested The first case to go before a is starting in Los Angeles. (Toyota announced a voluntary recall on of 342,000 Tacoma trucks faulty seatbelts).

The depth and of Toyota’s appeal speaks to its connection with its customers. auto companies have share of flops (GM’S Malibu. Honda’s 2012 ) but Toyota rarely misses the and seems to have a sixth for what consumers want. blogger Peter De Lorenzo, who Toyotas as a white-hot bowl of concedes that Toyota is. positive there are legions of buyers out there who relish the to own a bland appliance that into the woodwork.

Toyota 2013

Other critics remain With the Camry extending its as the best-selling passenger car by any manufacturer, it long before suggestions that Toyota had rigged the by boosting incentives and ramping up sales. But the increases only it into the same incentive as other mid-size competitors the Malibu and Nissan Altima. merely started playing the game as everyone else.

brand new Corolla

More just moving the metal, is also doing something far significant: It is reaping the rewards of a technological and financial risk it two decades ago — the development of the powertrain and its installation in the revolutionary The move began the adoption of the hybrid as the preferred alternative to the combustion engine. Once marginal and fringe, the New York reported last week Americans have bought 300,000 hybrids so far this

Accounting for nearly half hybrid sales was the Prius. engineer Takeshi Uchiyamada, who the Prius’s development, was rewarded this year by being chairman of Toyota. When the commenced in 1993, he set two goals: to new production methods and to wring fuel economy from the internal combustion engine. His was 47.5 miles per gallon. The Prius has a combined city/highway rating of 50 mpg.

There skeptics aplenty when the Prius arrived in the U.S. in GM executive Bob Lutz dismissed as an interesting curiosity in 2004, gas was selling for $1.50 a gallon. He recanted and went on to lead of the Chevrolet Volt, a hybrid a plug-in feature that it to travel 35 miles on an electric But even though gas now costs $4 per gallon, the Volt has failed to on — only 11,643 been sold this — and GM has cut its price by $5,000.

Toyota won’t be cutting the of the Prius or any other of its cars in Japan anytime soon, the weaker yen. At 100 to the dollar, the yen is 25% cheaper than it was a year the most favorable it has been in Although Nissan has taken of the downturn to cut its prices up to $4,400 on popular models, ever-cautious is reaping not greater market but greater profits. It made billion in 2013’s April-June — more than as much as GM and Ford combined and it now expects to make nearly $17 this year.

So while we should all root for the teams and the city of Detroit’s and sensible exit from we need to keep in mind they are up against. These samurais — these descendants of 10th century — are indeed back.

Published: August 8, 2013: AM ET

Toyota 2013
Toyota 2013
Toyota 2013
Toyota 2013
Toyota 2013

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