Toyota Has This Market to Thank for Its Quick Comeback

Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) announced that China sales rose 68 percent in April from a year earlier to approximately 81,700 vehicles on behalf of Toyota and its two local joint-venture partners. The Japanese automaker said it sold a total of roughly 293,200 vehicles — a 14.3 percent increase from the same period last year — in the first four months of 2012.

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The year-on-year jump in April sales is attributed in large part to the fact that sales during April 2011 were comparatively low following the catastrophic earthquake on March 11. Toyota said that the earthquake and ensuing tsunami paralyzed production of key components and affected Toyota’s vehicle production around the world, including China.

A Toyota spokesman asserts that Toyota should be able to post double-digit sales growth, at least for the next several months, because of the impact the natural disaster had on the company’s sales performance. Despite the natural disaster, the spokesman said that Toyota’s sales momentum has been fairly strong. Toyota is expecting to meet its sales goal of selling one million cars this year.

Last year, Toyota’s sales in China totaled approximately 883,400 vehicles, a 4.4 percent increase from 2010, reflecting the general slowdown of automobile sales in China last year. China’s auto market slowed considerably after rapid growth in 2009 and 2010. This stemmed from the Chinese government’s decision to end incentives for car buyers that caused the sale of smaller-engine and commercial vehicles to slow down.

According to various industry forecasts, overall vehicle sales this year are expected to grow around 5-10 percent from 2011. Toyota will have to grow sales by approximately 13 percent this year to meet its goal of selling one million vehicles.

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