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Toyota Tops Chrysler, Posts Best U.S. Sales in 46-Year History

September 4, 2003

There was a new Big Three automaker lineup in August when Toyota's U.S. sales, including its Lexus and Scion brands, topped those of ChryslerGroup for the first time, according to USA Today.For Toyota, August was its best sales month in its 46-year history in the United States. It took a 12.3 percent share of the U.S. market, up from 10.9 percent a year ago, USA Today said.Chrysler Group's August market share was 11.6 percent, down from 12.3 percent a year ago. Parent DaimlerChrysler, which includes Chrysler Group and Mercedes-Benz, edged out Toyota with a 12.7 percent market share, according to USA Today."A stronger month than we expected combined with new products had us hitting on all eight cylinders," said Jim Press, Toyota's U.S. chief. But he said overtaking Chrysler was not a rallying point for Toyota."No one's going to argue that Toyota is having a great run in the U.S. market," said Chrysler sales chief Gary Dilts. "We are watching it out of the corner of our eye."National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Chief Economist Paul Taylor pointed out that beyond Toyota outselling the North American portion of DaimlerChrysler, Honda sales were up more than 11.4 percent and Nissan sales were up 14.2 percent.Taylor said it may be time to start talking about the "Big 6," all producing significant numbers of light vehicles in North America.Continued sluggish sales from Volkswagen, in part, and a weaker U.S. dollar against the Euro, held European brand light vehicle sales to 7 percent share of the U.S. market at the end of August.The Big 3 may need to produce more sedans that Americans want to buy in large numbers if they want to hold on to at least 60 percent of the U.S. market, according to Taylor. Relative labor costs currently make China the source of an increasing number of small cars, with Brazil, Mexico and Korea, as well as Europeand North America, feeling intense competitive pressure from China's emergence in motor vehicle production during the next decade, according to Taylor.
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