Monday, March 29, 2010
DTN News: Automobile News March 30, 2010 ~ Toyota Global Sales Up 13% In February
DTN News: Automobile News March 30, 2010 ~ Toyota Global Sales Up 13% In February Source: DTN News / AFP (NSI News Source Info) TOKYO, Japan - March 30, 2010: Crisis-hit Toyota said Monday that global sales rose 13 percent year-on-year in February, but analysts warned that the fall-out from recent mass safety recalls would continue to hang over the firm. A factory worker checks an assembled Prius hybrid vehicle in its final stage of the assembly line at Toyota Motors' Tsutsumi factory in Toyota, Aichi prefecture. Crisis-hit Toyota said that global sales rose 13 percent year-on-year in February, but analysts warned that the fall-out from recent mass safety recalls would continue to hang over the firm. The Toyota group, which includes brands Daihatsu and Hino trucks, sold 613,845 vehicles worldwide last month, up from 543,435 a year earlier, a spokesman said. The group's global production in the same period jumped 69.2 percent to 734,631 units, of which 655,180 were for the Toyota brand alone. Analysts said the figures were unsurprising given the auto industry's troubles a year earlier as the world economic downturn eroded demand. "The robust figures were largely due to a rebound from its sizeable slump a year earlier. There was no surprise. The figures were within expectations," said Mamoru Kato, auto analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Centre. "It is too early to be optimistic about the fate of Toyota." One of Japan's most famed companies, Toyota has been battered by both the global economic downturn and by its massive safety woes over faulty accelerator and brake systems. In recent months, the world's largest automaker has been forced to recall more than eight million vehicles worldwide mostly due to problems with sudden acceleration, which have been blamed for 58 deaths in the United States. Domestic sales continue to rise however, surging 32.1 percent year-on-year to 210,767 units, with sales in the Toyota brand alone up 49.9 percent. The figures were largely boosted by the success of the Prius hybrid model, the best selling car in Japan for the ninth consecutive month, according to statistics released earlier by a professional body. Vehicle exports from Japan more than doubled to 161,533 units, Toyota said in a statement. However, "the negative impact of its mass recall is being felt in developed countries except Japan," said Kato. "The prospect for Toyota's business activities is still uncertain." In Tokyo trade, Toyota Motor shares closed 0.53 percent lower at 3,740 yen Monday. Earlier this month, the automaker said sales in the United States fell 8.7 percent year-on-year in February to 100,027 units. The company last week faced its first US courtroom challenge as lawyers pressed for angry car owners to be allowed to bring a multi-billion-dollar suit against the Japanese firm. It also announced a North American "quality task force" as it struggles to repair its reputation. The task force will answer to Toyota chief executive Akio Toyoda, the grandson of the company's founder. Other Japanese auto giants also reported on Monday strong year-on-year increases in production and sales in February as demand continued to pick up. Japan's second biggest automaker Honda said production worldwide increased 49.3 percent to 284,711 units while Mazda production surged 73.7 percent to 100,126. Nissan saw worldwide sales gain 21.7 percent year-on-year.