Toyota Tsunami Recovery to Be Seen in 93% U.S. Sales Gain
Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) is coming backstrong in the U.S. this time, Ernie Boch Jr. sees it lasting.
A year ago, as the company was recovering from recordrecalls, Toyota was like a woozy heavyweight boxer justreturning to his feet, said Boch, a dealer 30 minutes outsideBoston. Then, Japan’s earthquake and tsunami hit in March 2011,halting vehicle assembly and leading to shortages from Maythrough August.
“The tsunami came, and just — boom! — right back down onthe mat,” said Boch, president of a Toyota store in Norwood,Massachusetts. “The reduction of inventory hurt us. now, it’sback.”
The extent of Toyota’s recovery will show in its May salesresults, set to be released tomorrow. The Japanese automakerprobably rode gains from new models such as the Camry sedan andPrius line of hybrids to a 93 percent increase in deliveries ofcars and light trucks, the average estimate of seven analystssurveyed by Bloomberg.
Total light-vehicle deliveries in May could surge 31percent to 1.39 million, the average of nine analysts’ estimates.Industry sales may run at a 14.4 million seasonally adjustedannualized rate, the average of 14 estimates, keeping the U.S.on pace for its best year since 2007. The May 2011 sales ratewas 11.7 million, according to researcher Autodata Corp.
Boch Toyota sold about 400 new vehicles this month, led byCamry and Corolla cars as well as Seqouia and Land Cruisersport-utility vehicles — which the dealership ran out of attimes in 2011 — Boch said. he boosted salaried pay for someemployees last year to make up for depressed commissions whensales slid as low as 210 vehicles a month.
“People are out there buying more than they were a yearago, and we have the bullets,” said John Horton, president ofSan Francisco Toyota, where sales more than doubled in May froma year earlier. “Our hybrids are hot. everything is moving.”
Toyota and Honda Motor Co. (7267), which analysts estimatereporting the industry’s second-biggest sales increase, lostproduction of hundreds of thousands of vehicles after lastyear’s tsunami in Japan and floods in Thailand. Toyota may gainalmost 1 percentage point of U.S. market share this year andretain third place behind General Motors Co. (GM) (GM) and Ford Motor Co.,analysts estimated earlier in the year.
The Japanese company has recovered from the recall of morethan 10 million vehicles in 2009 and 2010 related to unintendedacceleration. in the first three months of this year, Toyotasold the most cars and trucks in the world. Toyota will probablyremain No. 3 in the U.S. market for the month behind GM, whichsold the most vehicles globally last year, and Ford (F) (F), accordingto estimates.
Honda deliveries may climb 53 percent, the average of sevenanalysts’ estimates. The Tokyo automaker entered May havingreported year-over-year sales declines in 10 of the last 12months, as the natural disasters sapped supply of Civic compacts,Accord sedans and CR-V SUVs.
Chrysler Group LLC probably will lead U.S. automakers witha 40 percent sales increase from a year earlier, the averageestimate of nine analysts. The automaker ran a nationalpromotion the last 10 days of May, offering some buyers nomonthly payments for 90 days.
“The Japanese competitors are now back fully in themarketplace,” Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer ofChrysler and its majority owner Fiat SpA (F), told reporters on May24. “It’s something that we have not had to deal with,effectively, over the last 12 months.”
The year-over-year market share gains for Japan-basedautomakers are “artificial” because of their depressed resultslast year, Brian Johnson, an analyst at Barclays Plc, wrote in aMay 24 report. GM and Ford may combine to gain about 1percentage point of market share compared with April, Johnsonwrote.
GM’s May deliveries probably rose 15 percent, the averageof 10 analysts’ estimates. The Detroit automaker’s U.S. marketshare through April slipped 1.9 percentage points from a yearearlier to 17.7 percent. GM shuffled its sales team on May 17,naming Alan Batey to the new position of vice president of U.S.sales and service.
“GM had such an abundance of Chevy Cruze, which was a goodsubstitute for Corolla and Civics” during Toyota and Hondamodel shortages last year, said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst atindustry researcher Edmunds.com. “They had some good gains in2011 that have been a little bit tougher to replicate in 2012.”
Ford sales probably gained 12 percent, the average estimateof 10 analysts surveyed. The automaker is adding production atsome North American plants to keep up with demand and boostoutput by 400,000 vehicles on an annualized basis.
“Sales of some hot-selling products such as Focus, F-Series with EcoBoost, and Explorer were impacted by tightinventory,” Goldman Sachs Group inc. analyst Patrick Archambault wrote in a May 21 report. “This is something thatFord is trying to address through increased capacity.”
Nissan Motor Co. (7201), which began production this month of itsrevamped Altima sedan, may report a 29 percent gain indeliveries for the month, the average of seven estimates.
Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. (005380) and Kia Motors Corp. (000270) may combineto sell 17 percent more vehicles than a year earlier, theaverage of six analysts’ estimates.
Volkswagen AG (VOW), which is on pace to exceed its target forselling more than 500,000 vehicles in the U.S. this year, mayincrease combined sales of its Volkswagen and Audi brandvehicles by 33 percent in May, the average of four analysts’estimates.
The following table shows estimates for car and light-trucksales in the U.S. Estimates for companies are a percentagechange from May 2011. Forecasts for the seasonally adjustedannualized rate, or SAAR, are in millions of light vehicles.
May had 26 selling days, two more than the year-earlierperiod.
GM Ford Chrysler SAAR Peter Nesvold 13% 12% 44% 14.4(Jefferies)Patrick Archambault 15% 10% 38% 14.4(Goldman Sachs)Joseph Spak 16% 10% NA 14.4(RBC)Brian Johnson 16% 15% 42% 14.4(Barclays)Emmanuel Rosner 18% 11% 41% 14.4(CLSA)Chris Ceraso 13% 14% 36% 14.3(Credit Suisse)Itay Michaeli NA NA NA 14.4(Citigroup)John Sousanis 15% 15% 45% 14.6(Ward’s)George Magliano NA NA NA 14.2(IHS Automotive)Jeff Schuster NA NA NA 14.3(LMC Automotive)Alan Baum NA NA NA 14.4(Baum & Associates)Jessica Caldwell 11% 16% 42% 14.4(Edmunds.com)Jesse Toprak 17% 11% 33% 14.5(TrueCar.com)Alec Gutierrez 11% 9.4% 40% 14.2(Kelley Blue Book) Average 15% 12% 40% 14.4 The following table shows selling-day adjusted estimatesfor company car and light-truck sales as a percentage changefrom May 2011. GM Ford Chrysler Peter Nesvold 3.6% 3.8% 33%(Jefferies)Patrick Archambault 5.8% 1.5% NA(Goldman Sachs)Joseph Spak 7% 2% NA(RBC)Brian Johnson 7% 6% 31%(Barclays)Emmanuel Rosner 8.8% 2.2% 30%(CLSA)Chris Ceraso 4% 5% 28%(Credit Suisse) Average 6.5% 3.3% 30%
To contact the reporter on this story:Craig Trudell in Southfield, Michigan, at
To contact the editor responsible for this story:Jamie Butters at
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