Despite a major downturn in the market, Toyota will continue building passenger cars.
You all just can’t stop buying crossovers. Just last month, the Toyota Camry sold 24,545 examples. And I know what you’re thinking: “Hey, that doesn’t sound too bad…that’s nearly as many cars as the best-selling RAV4!” If you weren’t thinking that, check out TFL’s comprehensive sales reports for the latest numbers in the market. While selling nearly 1,000 Camrys each day sounds impressive, sales are actually down 30 percent from November 2017.
However, Toyota USA CEO Jim Lentz believes passenger car sales have bottomed out about as much as they’re going to. According to a Carscoops report, ordinary cars made up just under 30 percent of the total market — about one million sales. Even though crossovers have exploded, Toyota will continue to stick by its passenger car roots like the Yaris, Corolla, Camry and Avalon.
Still room in the market
Lentz went further, arguing that Americans still buy 4 million mainstream passenger cars each year. “There’s no way I’m going to walk away from that,” the Associated Press reports. “We are always going to have a bias toward passenger cars.”
It may be a strategy that ultimately puts Toyota ahead of automakers that are emphasizing SUVs and trucks. Ford and General Motors plan to cull a significant portion of their passenger car lineup over the coming months. When that happens, those who just want an ordinary sedan will have few options left but to go to Toyota or others that are hanging on in the market.
I can’t help but think there will be an inevitable pendulum effect in the coming years. Perhaps higher gas prices will be the harbinger of that swing. Or people may just get sick of big, cumbersome SUVs and crossovers clogging the roads. At any rate, despite the inhospitable state of the passenger car market, Toyota won’t be walking away anytime soon.