Toyota outsells, #2 ranked GM and #3 ranked Volkswagen in the first quarter of 2013.
For the fifth straight quarter in a row, Toyota outsold all other automakers. Bloomberg news reports that the depreciation of the yen sharpened the edge over GM and Volkswagen and that worldwide sales achieved 2.43 million units in the first quarter, as compared to GM’s 2.36 million units and VW’s 2.27 million units sold.
Toyota surpassed GM as the top-selling worldwide automaker in 2008, but in 2011, GM managed to snap the title back from Toyota as the tsunami affected nearly every aspect of the Japanese economy. The supply chain was particularly disrupted, the mad dash and competition for parts that were in short supply held production back until last year when Toyota regained the title.
Reports indicate that Toyota sold 69,000 more vehicles than GM and more than 203,000 vehicles than Volkswagen.
Toyota predicted since December 2012 that sales will rise to almost 10 million units in 2013, an achievement no other auto manufacturer has ever reached. Since then, the business climate in Japan has improved; the yen continued to depreciate against major currencies, improving Toyota’s prospective earnings and improving market value by more than $50 billion in 2013.
Bloomberg also reports significant gains in earnings.
Net income increased threefold to 908 billion yen and projected to climb 52 percent this fiscal year, according to the average analyst estimate compiled by Bloomberg.
Supporting the recovery is the yen, which, since mid-November has dropped 19 percent against the dollar. The new government is very speedy and aggressive in their actions, Toyota President Akio Toyoda, chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, said last month. With the moves in the foreign exchange markets stabilizing, there is no doubt a sense that we’re beginning to see a silver lining.
It’s likely that Toyota’s numbers would be better had not a territorial dispute over a small group of islands in the East China Sea erupted. It is reported that since the dispute, Chinese consumers were reluctant to be seen driving a Japanese branded vehicle. Although the tension seems to be slowly lifting, getting sales back on track will take some time.
The United States is Toyota’s largest overseas market, last quarter’s sales were up 8.7 percent with nearly 530,000 units sold. This increased the manufacturer’s market share to 14.4 percent, up from 14.1 percent.
In comparison, Chevy sales boosted GM’s first-quarter sales by 9.3 percent to nearly 665,000 units. After GM’s U.S. market share dropped to an 88-year-low in 2012, the automaker is planning to unveil an estimated 20 new vehicles in the United States this year.
It appears that Toyota has regained sustained momentum and not likely to falter anytime soon. The competition has its work cut out for them. Stay tuned.