Filed under: Sedan , Videos , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Eleven months after Toyota claimed the 2012 sales crown a couple of months early thanks to the Camry , the headlines this year have been quite a bit different to last. Even though the Camry remains the best selling car so far in 2013 and its volume has increased year-on-year, it has lost market share due to the 20-percent sales explosion in the midsize segment. That means people are buying more of the competitor offerings like the Honda Accord , Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion – the Altima, in fact, outsold the Camry by 100 units in March. In July it was reported that Toyota was upping Camry incentives and fleet sales to keep its lead and that dealer inventory was climbing as, again, competitors got better at fighting the champion. In August Ford doubled down on production of the Fusion, adding a line in Flat Rock, MI to keep up with demand. Bloomberg has a report looking at the numbers behind the Camry’s dominance, as well as what appears to be a recorded group interview with Toyota USA CEO Jim Lentz, and wonders aloud whether the Camry will be able to hold its top spot in 2014. Barring catastrophe it has this year locked up, being more than 30,000 sales ahead of the next-best seller as of the end of August, but it has done so with higher incentives and lower transaction prices than its competitors. According to Strategic Vision the Camry’s consideration rate among consumers has also declined by a percentage point, while the consideration rate for the Accord and Fusion has increased by one point and two points, respectively. Analysts, and Toyota, cite better competitor products as well as the fact that the Camry is a year older than any of them to explain what’s happening, but a year from now the three major competitors won’t be as new either, and Toyota knows a thing or two about moving cars. Still, the Camry has been number one for 15 of the past 16 years, its only second-place blip coming in 2001, so it’s way early to be talking about the fall of the champion.
Filed under: Car Buying , China , Europe , Chrysler , Honda , Toyota , Volkswagen , Fiat Automotive News has announced its annual list of Industry All-Stars. This year, the theme is apparently “success in the face of economic uncertainty,” or something of that liking. The list points to executives who have led their respective brands and automakers to positive sales in spite of the European financial crisis and slowing sales in China . See the list below, and you’ll understand why: Industry Leader of the Year and CEO, Europe – Martin Winterkorn, CEO, Volkswagen Group (above): The VW boss started with the German automaker in 2007, overseeing a staggering 12 brands. Under his leadership, sales of Volkswagens have gained in both China and America. VW has also expanded production to America and grown its operations in Brazil. Winterkorn is a very hands-on executive, traveling to America six times to test and tweak the American-built current-generation Passat. Volkswagen is aiming to be the largest and most profitable automaker in the wold by 2018, and Winterkorn will stay on through that time, making him accountable for those goals. CEO, North America – Sergio Marchionne, CEO, Chrysler Group: How does 31 straight months of positive year-over-year sales sound? The Fiat and Chrysler chief has bestowed dealers with a wealth of new product, and the American automaker is expected to post $1.5 billion in profits this year, in spite of economic turmoil in Europe.
Filed under: Etc. , Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Toyota Halfway down a press release announcing that Shigeki Terashi was named president and COO of Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (TMA) was this: Jim Lentz is named CEO of Toyota Motor Sales, effective April 1. Lentz is the first American to take that position in the company. TMA is the holding company under which all of Toyota’s North American operations are grouped. Terashi will fulfill two roles when his new appointment is official on April 1, the new one and his current one as president of Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing, NA. Lentz will rise from his current position as COO. He became one of the prominent faces of Toyota during the company’s recent recall issues, publicly making the interview rounds and testifying before Congress to address the situation. Follow the jump for Toyota’s press release on the management shuffle. Continue reading Jim Lentz becomes first American CEO of Toyota Motor Sales Jim Lentz becomes first American CEO of Toyota Motor Sales originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 11 Mar 2012 14:02:00 EST.