Toyota Motor Corp expects industry-wide U.S. light vehicle sales to range between 10.3 million and 10.4 million units on an annualized basis in 2009, and top 11 million in 2010, the automaker's U.S. brand chief told Reuters on Monday.
Speaking at the annual Reuters Autos Summit, Bob Carter also said he expected October U.S. industry-wide vehicle sales to come in between 10.3 million and 10.5 million units on an annualized basis. Toyota's overall sales for the month are pacing down slightly from a year earlier, with its retail sales down "a few single-digit percentages," he said.
Automakers are expected to release October U.S. sales figures on Tuesday, when analysts expect to see the strongest results of the year with the exception of July and August, when vehicle sales received a short-lived boost from the U.S. government's "cash for clunkers" trade-in incentives.
Auto sales, a key measure of consumer demand, have been hurt in the past year as customers tightened purse strings amid a weak economy. The economic meltdown came on the heels of already-weakening vehicle demand amid record-high gasoline prices last year.
"We are seeing some mild but steady progressions," Carter told Reuters of demand for U.S. vehicles. "In the month of August, with the government stimulus and 'cash for clunkers,' that gave the industry a shot in the arm." This, he added, created inventory shortages across the industry.