Toyota reloads for another 200,000 in 2013

words - Marton Pettendy
Another 200,000-plus sales expected this year as Toyota prepares new RAV4 for booming Australian SUV market
Toyota expects to sell “well over” 200,000 vehicles in Australia again this year, proving its 2012 result of 218,176 sales was no flash in the pan following supply shortages due to natural disasters in Japan and Thailand in 2011.

If it does so, and if total new-vehicle sales top 1.075 million - as the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries expects - then Toyota Australia’s 2013 market share will be close to the dominant 19.6 per cent it achieved last year.

Toyota Australia didn’t set a sales record last year (its best was 238,983 in 2008), but increased its sales a whopping 20.1 per cent – almost twice the industry average – following a massive 35.9 per cent sales spike last month (the best December on record by any company), and sold in excess of 200,000 vehicles for the eighth time in nine years.

It expects to do so again in 2013 with the aid of just one all-new model – the redesigned RAV4 to be launched on February 19 – reflecting the importance of mid-sized SUVs in the Australian market.

Medium SUVs accounted for more than 90,000 sales last year and formed a segment that grew by 22 per cent, outstripping growth in the bigger large SUV segment, which at more than 100,000 sales grew by 18.8 per cent, while small SUVs accounted for less than 40,000 but grew by more than 50 per cent.

While Nissan’s X-TRAIL led the segment followed by Mazda’s CX-5 (with both finishing behind Australia’s most popular SUV outright, Toyota’s Prado), the outgoing RAV4 placed third in a segment that was recently joined by new Mitsubishi Outlander and Honda CR-V models, and will also be joined soon by new Subaru Forester and Ford Kuga models.

Toyota will launch a new US-sourced replacement for its existing Kluger, which was Australia’s third best-selling large SUV behind Ford’s homegrown Territory, in early February 2014, a few weeks before the redesigned Corolla sedan arrives here.

Launched in October, the redesigned Corolla hatch played a small but important role in lifting total sales of the Corolla – Toyota Australia’s biggest selling model – by 7.5 per cent in 2012, but after years of small-car dominance the Corolla was one of the few Toyotas not to clean-sweep its sales segment last year.

The launch of just one model this year – and another new SUV in 2014 – is in contrast with Toyota Australia’s previous 12 months, during which time it launched new Camry and Aurion models, plus the Prius c hatch, Prius v people-mover and 86 coupe.

Toyota, which also returned to global sales leadership in 2012, achieved too many milestones last year in Australia to list here without sounding like a company press release.

For the record, however, last year was the 10th consecutive year – and the 16th time overall – that Toyota, which also produced its three millionth vehicle locally in December, was Australia’s top-selling automotive brand, as well as the eighth time in nine years that it sold more than 200,000 vehicles – a feat yet to be achieved by any other brand.

Toyota was the number-one brand in every state and territory last year, and the HiLux and Corolla finished behind the Mazda3 for outright sales, while the Yaris and Camry (Australia’s top-selling mid-size car for the 19th consecutive year) were also top-10 models and Toyotas were top-sellers in eight separate sales segments.

The HiLux helped Toyota remain the top-selling brand in commercial vehicles for 34 years since 1979, with more than 40,000 examples sold for just the third time in a record-setting year for LCV sales in Australia.

Underscoring its success in the nation’s mining boom, especially in states like West Australia and Queensland, the seven-year-old one-tonner was also Australia’s top-selling vehicle – bar none – for six different months last year and was also Australia’s best-selling four-wheel drive.

Toyota produced more than 100,000 Camry and Aurion vehicles in Australia last year and shipped more than 70,000 vehicles – mainly to the Middle East.

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Published : Monday, 7 January 2013
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