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Toyota, Chevy Dispute Top-Selling US Brand

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Jan. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp.'s namesake division may declare itself the No. 1 auto brand in the U.S. for 2007. General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet won't agree.

The dispute pivots on one question: How should sales of Toyota's Scion cars be tallied?

At stake are bragging rights that go with the top-selling line of autos in the U.S. Toyota's count includes Scion, cars that bear no Toyota badges and are marketed separately. By that measure, the Japanese automaker's lead through November sets the stage for a full-year win. Leave Scion out, and Chevy will likely retake the title when results are released tomorrow.

``I don't think for a second that Scion is a Toyota vehicle; it's clearly its own brand,'' said Tom Libby, an analyst for J.D. Power and Associates. ``You might as well count Pontiac vehicles as Chevrolet sales if you think Scion's a Toyota.''

Overtaking Chevrolet, the largest of GM's seven U.S. brands, would mark another triumph for Toyota. The Toyota City, Japan- based automaker passed Ford Motor Co. in the past year to become the No. 2 seller of autos in the U.S. and is threatening to pass GM in global sales.

``We don't consider Scion a part of the Toyota brand,'' said Terry Rhadigan, a GM spokesman for the Chevrolet division. ``On our scoreboard, we're leading.''

Countered Toyota spokesman Xavier Dominicis: ``We've always counted it that way, and it's sold only at Toyota dealerships.''

A 14 percent sales decline through Nov. 30 at Ford's main division put Chevrolet in a position to retake the sales title it won in 2005. The Ford brand trailed the Toyota division, without Scion, by nearly 66,000 units at the end of November.

Different Strokes

J.D. Power, of Westlake Village, California, separates Scion from Toyota in its tallies, as does Ward's Automotive Reports, of Southfield, Michigan. Another compiler of sales statistics, Autodata Corp., includes Scion in its Toyota-brand total.

Through November, the Toyota-Chevrolet race was tight enough to hinge on Scion. Including Scion, Toyota sold 2,101,804 cars and light trucks, for a 35,524-unit advantage. Without Scion's 121,237 vehicles, Chevrolet would be on top by 85,713.

Toyota says that unlike the luxury Lexus division, whose vehicles are sold at distinct dealerships and tallied separately, Scion was always intended to be a branch of the main brand. The automaker adopted that standard when the cars made their U.S. debut in 2003. Scion's three models are the xB, xD and tC.

Remembering Geo

Counting Scions as Toyotas echoes an approach Chevrolet used when it tallied the Geo line of cars as its own, said David Lucas, an analyst with Autodata in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. He said his company registers Scion sales for Toyota because the automaker insists they are part of its main brand.

At its peak of 325,143 units in 1990, the Geo line made up 13 percent of Chevrolet's U.S. sales, according to Autodata. In comparison, Scion sales accounted for 7.8 percent of the Toyota division in 2006. In 1990, Toyota trailed Chevrolet by 1.6 million vehicles.

Rhadigan said GM made it clear Geos were aligned with Chevrolet because they bore a diminutive Chevy bowtie in the middle of the vehicles' front-end logo, designed to look like a globe, whereas Scion vehicles aren't identified as being part of Toyota. Geos were sold exclusively at Chevrolet dealerships before the line was suspended following the 1997 model year.

U.S. sales for Toyota may have dropped 4 percent last month due in part to a 6 percent decline in truck sales, said Chicago- based Lehman Brothers analyst Brian Johnson in a note today. He expects GM to report a 6 percent decline.

Toyota trailed GM in global sales by about 10,000 units at the end of 2007's third quarter, after leading in the first half by 39,000. Global sales results will be released later this month.

GM fell 48 cents to $24.41 at 4:02 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, its sixth straight decline and its lowest since May 2006. Toyota's American depositary receipts rose 29 cents to $106.46.

To contact the reporter on this story: Greg Bensinger in New York at gbensinger1@bloomberg.net

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How did GM count Geo? Were those sales combined with Chevy since both were sold through the same channels? Toyota/Scion should be counted the same way Chevy/Geo were back in the 80's/90's since thats basically the same situation.

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Alright, that means GM can count BPG as one total-outselling both Dodge and Nissan.

Hmm seems I spoke too soon—BPG has fallen behind Dodge.

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>>"registers Scion sales for Toyota because the automaker insists they are part of its main brand."<<

IF toyota insists this is true, we should never read independant figures for scion like average buyer age or MPG or profit or sales figures. Combine it all and be done with it- never separate it anywhere.

But since toyopet is addicted to talking out both sides of it's mouth- no doubt this'll never happen.

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>>"registers Scion sales for Toyota because the automaker insists they are part of its main brand."<<

IF toyota insists this is true, we should never read independant figures for scion like average buyer age or MPG or profit or sales figures. Combine it all and be done with it- never separate it anywhere.

But since toyopet is addicted to talking out both sides of it's mouth- no doubt this'll never happen.

This is a great point. Is Scion a separate brand in terms of marketing or CAFE? If so I don't think they can be counted as the same brand. Either way at this point I don't really care anymore. Toyota is starting to slide in quality while GM's brands are improving. Here's to the future then! :pbjtime:

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How did GM count Geo? Were those sales combined with Chevy since both were sold through the same channels? Toyota/Scion should be counted the same way Chevy/Geo were back in the 80's/90's since thats basically the same situation.

according to the article it didnt matter if Geo was counted as Chevys (although i think they were) because Geo had bowties in their emblem, although small... they were there...

Scion has no toyota badge

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God Chevy better win. Geo was always apart of Chevrolet. You might as well count Pontiac, GM is right.

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You know, I went to the Toyota.com website and didn't find a single Scion model underneath "Cars." I even clicked "All Cars" and still didn't find them.

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You know, I went to the Toyota.com website and didn't find a single Scion model underneath "Cars." I even clicked "All Cars" and still didn't find them.

:yes:

Scions are marketed as Toyotas, aren't included in Toyota's average buyer age, and aren't ever mentioned with Toyota in the same phrase by Toyota except in sales figures.

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From Toyota's press release today:

"Toyota, Lexus and Scion..."

Looks like they're three brands to me, Toyota.

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So then I ask... Who gets the title? Did Chevy have a website back in 97 when the Geo's were around... And were they on it? Hmmmm. I had no internet then so I have no idea.

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So then I ask... Who gets the title? Did Chevy have a website back in 97 when the Geo's were around... And were they on it? Hmmmm. I had no internet then so I have no idea.

its better not to compare GEO with Scion...

the botom line is, toyota is trying to use whatever it takes to take the number 1 spot...

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Chevy is the best selling brand... there have been more Chevy's sold since 1911 than Toyotas.

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So how will they decide this?

Mud Wrestling Match... :lol:

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Apples and oranges. Where not talking the best-selling division, but the best-selling brand.

DING DING DING! :yes:

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At Cobo Hall, Scion has a separate space from Toyota. What does that mean?
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:pbjtime:
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Well, I'd say that truth-be-told, all things being fair (Chevy used to include Geo) then Toyota won the sales stake this year.

Personally.....I think Scion should be counted separately..... but considering Chevy was allowed to count Geo, it only seems fair. In fact, one could argue that at least every Scion product IS an actual Toyota product. There wasn't a single Geo that was a GM product (and GM having partial stakes in Suzuki and Isuzu doesn't count.)

That being said....unfortunately....it looks like Scion most likely won't even matter in the counting at the end of this year.....

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Well, I'd say that truth-be-told, all things being fair (Chevy used to include Geo) then Toyota won the sales stake this year.

Personally.....I think Scion should be counted separately..... but considering Chevy was allowed to count Geo, it only seems fair. In fact, one could argue that at least every Scion product IS an actual Toyota product. There wasn't a single Geo that was a GM product (and GM having partial stakes in Suzuki and Isuzu doesn't count.)

That being said....unfortunately....it looks like Scion most likely won't even matter in the counting at the end of this year.....

the difference is... GEO has Chevy bowties on them...

geo_badge.jpg

and i dont know if Toyota has changed its badge for the tundra, but if badge is what is important... some of their trucks may not count because they are sold at Toyota Truck dealerships rather then a toyota dealership, just as GMC trucks are sold at a different retailer then GM's Chevrolet trucks...

Edited by Newbiewar
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Well, I'd say that truth-be-told, all things being fair (Chevy used to include Geo) then Toyota won the sales stake this year.

Personally.....I think Scion should be counted separately..... but considering Chevy was allowed to count Geo, it only seems fair. In fact, one could argue that at least every Scion product IS an actual Toyota product. There wasn't a single Geo that was a GM product (and GM having partial stakes in Suzuki and Isuzu doesn't count.)

That being said....unfortunately....it looks like Scion most likely won't even matter in the counting at the end of this year.....

But GEO had chevy symbols in their logo AND they were the same exact thing as Chevys, Scions are completely different from Toyotas.

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