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Toyota Doesn't Expect to Repeat Chrysler-Beating August Sales Soon - Report

September 5, 2003

Toyota may not soon repeat its August United States sales results, when it passed Chrysler for the first time, a top U.S. official with the carmaker said on Sept. 4, according to a Reuters report.The news agency noted that Toyota reported its best-ever sales of 200,482 cars and trucks in August, topping the 200,000 mark and beating Chrysler for the first time - No. 3 U.S. carmaker Chrysler posted a 6 percent drop in August sales to 190,388 vehicles."It's right now going to be a high water mark for the time being because our inventories are depleted," Toyota's executive vice president and chief operating officer of U.S. sales, Jim Press, told Reuters in an interview.Reuters said Toyota's blow-out sales in August left it with 25 days of supply of new vehicles on dealers' lots, far below the industry average of around 70 days.However, analysts told the news agency that it is only a matter of time before Toyota leaves Chrysler behind for good, becoming the first foreign car maker to stake a claim as a member of the Big Three, Reuters reported."At this rate, they could overtake them in the next couple of years," Rebecca Lindland, a senior market analyst with Global Insight, told Reuters.The news agency noted that Toyota is aggressively expanding in North America, with the addition of new vehicle assembly plants and the launch this summer of the Scion brand, which it hopes will attract many of the estimated 65 million young Americans who will get a drivers license over the next 10 years.Reuters said the Toyota brand became the top seller of cars this year, passing Ford and Chevrolet, but Press reportedly said pickup trucks will help grow Toyota's US sales above 2 million by 2005, up from 1.76 million last year.Toyota claims 11 percent of the U.S. market of passenger cars, but only a 4 percent share of the full-size pickup truck market, which is dominated by the U.S. brands, Reuters said, adding that Toyota breaks ground next month on its full-size pickup truck in San Antonio, Texas, in the heart of truck country and is also building a plant in Baja, Mexico, to build compact pickup trucks.Reuters said that Chrysler has also set a lofty target of growing its worldwide sales by 1 million vehicles by the end of the decade but the brand and its U.S. competitors have been losing market share in the United States.In May, Chrysler cancelled plans to build a new assembly plant in Ontario, Canada, where it had considered manufacturing a small pickup truck, Reuters noted.Frank Khoshnoud, senior director of the Global Automotive Practice with Cap Gemini, told Reuters that strong growth in the U.S. market is key to Toyota's plans to grow its worldwide market share to 15 percent by 2010 from 10 percent currently."When they go public with a statement, you can take it to the bank," he told Reuters.
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