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Oracle of Delphi

Europe's worst sales result? Toyota

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Jesse Snyder

Automotive News

July 28, 2008 - 12:01 am ET

Plunging Toyota sales paced a dreary June for Europe.

All mass-market auto groups lost volume in 28 European markets last month as sales fell 7.9 percent to 1.43 million passenger vehicles, said ACEA, the European automakers association. June results pushed Europe's first-half sales to a 2.0 percent decline, to 8.34 million units.

But the Toyota brand's 17.7 percent decline in June, coupled with an even steeper 25.6 percent loss at Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus luxury brand, was the worst result for the month.

For the first six months, Toyota Motor was the only automaker with a double-digit loss in Europe, down 12.3 percent. Toyota's fuel-efficient Aygo minicar and Prius are up a bit, but most other Toyota and Lexus models are down this year.

Europe's six largest automakers — Volkswagen, PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, Ford, General Motors, Renault and Fiat — all lost sales in the first half.

The only major players in Europe with first-half gains were BMW, Daimler and Nissan, the latter of which soared 25.9 percent to almost 200,000 units this year.

Daimler gained 2.8 percent through June. Its flagship Mercedes-Benz brand was off 0.1 percent for the first half, but Smart brand sales jumped 30.5 percent on full availability of a new-generation ForTwo.

The BMW brand gained 6.2 percent, and with the new Clubman model pushing Mini sales up by almost one-fifth, the group rose 8.3 percent overall.

Geographically, Europe's first-half results are mixed.

Among the five biggest markets, Germany and France managed modest gains compared with down markets in the first half of 2007. But the United Kingdom was marginally down, and Italy and Spain fell sharply.

The best regional market was the new European Union. The 10 post-2004 EU members for which ACEA has data (excluding Cyprus and Malta) posted first-half sales of 611,543 vehicles, up 6.9 percent.

Link: http://www.autonews.com/article/20080728/A...paign_id=alerts

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Toyota Motor was the only automaker with a double-digit loss in Europe, down 12.3 percent

< "Nelson" on "The Simpsons: Ha-ha! >

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I visited Toyota's UK site recently and noticed that it sells two models there smaller than the Yaris, sells only two crossovers - the Land Cruiser and the Rav4, and its largest model appears to be only slightly larger than our Corolla. I think the Yaris and Prius are the only cars sold there also sold here.

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Good post. Very enjoyable. :D

Who's got some salt? I'd love to massage it in Toyopet's wound.

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I visited Toyota's UK site recently and noticed that it sells two models there smaller than the Yaris, sells only two crossovers - the Land Cruiser and the Rav4, and its largest model appears to be only slightly larger than our Corolla. I think the Yaris and Prius are the only cars sold there also sold here.

The Yaris is Toyota's biggest seller in the UK, and has always been popular ever since it first debuted ten years ago. The smaller A-segment Aygo is a joint venture with PSA and built alongside its Puegeot and Citroen sisters in the Czech Republic.

The D-segment Avensis is now Toyota's largest sedan sold in Europe, as the E-segment Camry was pulled in 2005 after dismal sales. Large Japanese saloon cars with mainstream badges have always been poor sallers in Europe; other casualties included the Nissan QX (Maxima), Honda Legend and the Mitsubishi Galant, although the Legend has since reappeared in its current form.

4x4s are not big sellers in Europe and the RAV4 and Land Cruiser/Colorado & Amazon models are enough for Toyota to plug along with.

Summer is always a slack time for the European industry, as new models are usually launched in the Autumn. This is more pronounced since the UK moved its new registration year dates from 1 August, to 1 March & 1 September combined.

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4x4 sales are growing in Europe, despite a PC backlash by the usual wowsers, but the Land Cruiser (LC Prado in other markets, Lexus GX in North America) and LandCruiser V8 (the regular LC elsewhere) can hardly be called "crossovers". Toyota has only one car smaller than the Yaris in Europe—the Aygo, The iQ arrives some time in the future. Smaller vehicles are generally sold through the Daihatsu and Perodua (Daihatsu Malaysia) networks. Daihatsu develops and builds the only smaller Toyotas sold anywhere (Sirion/Coo/Boon, Materia/bB, Go/Terios/Rush etc.). The new Scion xB will be sold in Europe as the Toyota UrbanCruiser (pretending it is a fwd crossover, although only the badging and engines differ), but is bigger than the Yaris (more in line with European competitors—the the much shorter Yaris hatch is a segment down in size still, but not in price). The Corolla sedan is sold in several European markets, but Western Europeans prefer hatchbacks, so they get the Vibe-based Auris instead (the Corolla Verso is also based on the wider Vibe platform).

Even smaller D-segment Japanese cars have not always fared well in Europe. Nissan dropped both the nominally-midsize Primera, and the compact Almera, only later selling the Mexican-built Tiida (Versa) and Sentra in select markets instead, as a vague acknowledgment that the Note B-MPV and Qashqai crossover were not attracting as many C-segment hatch buyers as hoped.

Is Chevrolet outselling Nissan in Europe now? Pwned.

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4x4 sales are growing in Europe, despite a PC backlash by the usual wowsers, but the Land Cruiser (LC Prado in other markets, Lexus GX in North America) and LandCruiser V8 (the regular LC elsewhere) can hardly be called "crossovers". Toyota has only one car smaller than the Yaris in Europe—the Aygo, The iQ arrives some time in the future. Smaller vehicles are generally sold through the Daihatsu and Perodua (Daihatsu Malaysia) networks. Daihatsu develops and builds the only smaller Toyotas sold anywhere (Sirion/Coo/Boon, Materia/bB, Go/Terios/Rush etc.). The new Scion xB will be sold in Europe as the Toyota UrbanCruiser (pretending it is a fwd crossover, although only the badging and engines differ), but is bigger than the Yaris (more in line with European competitors—the the much shorter Yaris hatch is a segment down in size still, but not in price). The Corolla sedan is sold in several European markets, but Western Europeans prefer hatchbacks, so they get the Vibe-based Auris instead (the Corolla Verso is also based on the wider Vibe platform).

Even smaller D-segment Japanese cars have not always fared well in Europe. Nissan dropped both the nominally-midsize Primera, and the compact Almera, only later selling the Mexican-built Tiida (Versa) and Sentra in select markets instead, as a vague acknowledgment that the Note B-MPV and Qashqai crossover were not attracting as many C-segment hatch buyers as hoped.

Is Chevrolet outselling Nissan in Europe now? Pwned.

Nissan have never had a successful C-segment machine in Europe since the days of the Sunny. The Almera was simply too lacklustre compared to rivals, and apparently the success of the Micra meant Nissan didn't feel too much need to worry about the gap in its model range left by the Almera. That said, their rationale that a small crossover in the form of the Qashqai would woo would-be Astra, Golf, 307 and Focus buyers was flawed from the outset. The Primera was only recently withdrawn from the UK but remains on sale elsewhere in Europe, but a new D-segment saloon is set to debut next year but that also remains shrouded in mystery at this juncture. A few European countries get the Clio-derived Tiida but those are all sourced in Japan for those markets.

Toyota's upcoming UrbanCruiser is basically a re-engineered Toyota Ist/Scion xD and I have doubts as to its success, especially when you look at other failed B-segment "urban lifestyle" vehicles such as Ford's Fiesta-based Fusion. While the Yaris hatchback is a shorter platform, it is still considered B-segment in terms of the overall line-up and pitched at the Fiesta, 207, Polo, Punto, Corsa, Micra, Jazz, C2, et al.

I'll maintain that 4x4s aren't big sellers in Europe, and demand has been mixed in the past few years. The UK was one of the largest 4x4 markets within the EU, and the downward turn started in 2006 when sales plummeted by 18%, with a further 2% drop in 2007 - offsetting a 3% increase in the remainder of western Europe.

Edited by aatbloke
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You are mis-informed. European Tiida's are manufactured in Mexico:

"This model is already enjoying sales success in Japan and the United States, where it is called Versa. Sales in Europe are expected to reach an average of 30,000 units per year over its lifecycle. Tiida will be built at Nissan’s Civac plant in Mexico."

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The Primera has not been on sale new in the UK for quite a long time. It was last on sale in some Eastern European markets such as Poland, but even there has been unavailable for many months. After all they stopped building them a very long time ago now.

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You are mis-informed. European Tiida's are manufactured in Mexico:

"This model is already enjoying sales success in Japan and the United States, where it is called Versa. Sales in Europe are expected to reach an average of 30,000 units per year over its lifecycle. Tiida will be built at Nissan’s Civac plant in Mexico."

I've asked some colleagues about this for clarification.

All North American and Central American market models are built in Mexico and all sourced using the 1.8 litre petrol unit. Models with this engine unit are also supplied by the Mexican facilities for European-market models. This was the first engine launched in the Irish market car, which was the first European market to get the Tiida - and the press package stated the 1.8 would be sourced in Mexico. Other variants however come from Japan.

Other European-market cars are sourced from the Oppama, Japan production facility with a smaller 1.5 litre petrol engine and a diesel. Asian Pacific rim and Australasian models are built locally in Malaysia as well as sourced from Mexico.

This is quite typical of Nissan (as well as Ford and GM) to source differing variants of the same cars from differing plants for the European market. Both the Almera and Primera were sourced at a number of different production facilities.

Edited by aatbloke
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The Primera has not been on sale new in the UK for quite a long time. It was last on sale in some Eastern European markets such as Poland, but even there has been unavailable for many months. After all they stopped building them a very long time ago now.

The Primera was withdrawn from the UK in January 2007.

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Wow... Toyotas are just as ugly in Europe ss they are here in the USA.

What self respectig |German buys THIS:

http://www.toyota.de/cars/new_cars/avensis/index.aspx

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Hold onto your hats, girls: it's going to get bumpier. News of major banks in Australia posting bad news made my morning breakfast hard to swallow. The pain is simply everywhere. News of the sheer size of Washington's budget deficit is going to spook markets even more (although, to be fair, as a percentage of GDP, Bush's mess isn't as awful as it sounds - yet.)

Not a good time to be in the auto business anywhere.

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...so lets bring out lots of big rear wheel drive cars with...tailfins and bias ply tires. The Automakers world would be just great if they would just listen to Cheers and Gears.

Chris

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That being said, Toyotas lineup is not just unimpressive it is profoundly unimpressive.

Chris

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Toyota is more than making up for it in Houston. I swear, ever since all the buzz about the Big 3 being in deep poop again I've really been sensitive to how many imports I see around me in traffic. It's funny because I don't really care about any other import manufacturer other than Toyota - they just simply piss me off. I don't even understand it anymore. I see soooooooo many of them, I swear they outsell GM in Houston - they must. I can't go 20 feet without seeing one of their products - doesn't matter what it is. I think I even see more Tundras than I do Silverados (I'm talking 07 and up Silverados vs. new Tundras). I see more Lexus than Caddy. It's like Toyota essentially took over the Houston market. I see tons of 4-Runners - they're everywhere. And lets not even talk about how many Camry's I see - they're like stink on &#036;h&#33;. GM is frigging screwed here - nobody wants GM anymore in Houston. Maybe I"m just being overly sensitive to it, but it's absolutely insane how GM (and Ford and Chrysler) basically just handed Toyota all of their business. What a bunch of bozos. I know Toyota kind of cheated over the years - but still, it's absolutely nuts. My dad was right - GM was going to end up being a shadow of themselves, and they don't know how to stop it. :(

Sorry, in a foul mood.

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I do recall seeing quite a few Avensises around the UK in my trips across the pond a few years back, don't recall seeing them in France or Italy though. Did see a few late '90s style Camrys as well.

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I've asked some colleagues about this for clarification.

All North American and Central American market models are built in Mexico and all sourced using the 1.8 litre petrol unit. Models with this engine unit are also supplied by the Mexican facilities for European-market models. This was the first engine launched in the Irish market car, which was the first European market to get the Tiida - and the press package stated the 1.8 would be sourced in Mexico. Other variants however come from Japan.

Other European-market cars are sourced from the Oppama, Japan production facility with a smaller 1.5 litre petrol engine and a diesel. Asian Pacific rim and Australasian models are built locally in Malaysia as well as sourced from Mexico.

This is quite typical of Nissan (as well as Ford and GM) to source differing variants of the same cars from differing plants for the European market. Both the Almera and Primera were sourced at a number of different production facilities.

Yeah, the press releases state all Tiida's sold in Europe are built a Civac. A Japanese source for the 1.5 L model might be credible, except that the 1.5 L engine is not offered in Europe (it may be offered in other markets served by Japan). It's a 1.6 L engine. For reasons I'm not aware of, a 1.5 L is a fundamental requirement for the Japanese market, but most companies, including Nissan, prefer to offer a 1.6 L engine in export markets if they can. A 1.5 L must be a sub-optimal compromise for regulatory/taxation reasons. If they can justify production of an unconstrained 1.6 L engine as well, they will do so. Nissan offers the HR16, Toyota the new 1.6 Dual-VVT, Subaru a larger 1.6 L boxer 4 instead of the JDM 1.5 L etc.. Even in Korea Daewoo offers a unique 1.5 L version of the GM family 1 block, but the standard 1.6 L for export markets.

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Yeah, the press releases state all Tiida's sold in Europe are built a Civac. A Japanese source for the 1.5 L model might be credible, except that the 1.5 L engine is not offered in Europe (it may be offered in other markets served by Japan). It's a 1.6 L engine. For reasons I'm not aware of, a 1.5 L is a fundamental requirement for the Japanese market, but most companies, including Nissan, prefer to offer a 1.6 L engine in export markets if they can. A 1.5 L must be a sub-optimal compromise for regulatory/taxation reasons. If they can justify production of an unconstrained 1.6 L engine as well, they will do so. Nissan offers the HR16, Toyota the new 1.6 Dual-VVT, Subaru a larger 1.6 L boxer 4 instead of the JDM 1.5 L etc.. Even in Korea Daewoo offers a unique 1.5 L version of the GM family 1 block, but the standard 1.6 L for export markets.

Griffon: My apologies, I meant to say 1.6 - it's the diesel that's the 1.5 unit in Europe. I've received corroboration via my colleague from a source in the ROI that the 1.8 litre unit - the only unit originally offered - is sourced in Mexico, hence the press release verbiage. However the other models subsequently introduced are from Japan. It's perfectly feasible though that overflow could come from Mexico during periods of high demand, in the same way as Golfs and 3-series flood in from South Africa to Europe when the German plants are at maximum capacity.

As for a low-compression 1.5 petrol for the domestic Japanese market - this wouldn't surprise me in the least given Japan's engine displacement tax regime. These low-compression variants are nothing new of course; I've no doubt you're familiar with the 1500cc E21 and E30 BMW 3-series manufactured for the French and Italian markets.

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I do recall seeing quite a few Avensises around the UK in my trips across the pond a few years back, don't recall seeing them in France or Italy though. Did see a few late '90s style Camrys as well.

The Avensis has always been a huge hit in Britain because it's built at Burnaston near Derby; it was a similar deal with the Carina E before it. Being produced domestically offers lower insurance and leasing rates for company car fleets.

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That being said, Toyotas lineup is not just unimpressive it is profoundly unimpressive.

Chris

Some things never change regardlessof what continent you're on.

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Although it wasn't always the case, for my money the interesting models in Toyota's model range echo those of Fiat - namely the small models. The Aygo, Yaris, Ractis/former Yaris Verso, and Auris are all attractive competitors in their respective market segments.

Edited by aatbloke
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I remember my auto enthusiast life back in the 90s - when I simply just liked good cars (ah, to be young) hahahahaha! - I didn't really hate any car company. Now I hate Toyota. As I've watched the Big 3 turn into proverbial has beens, I feel that Toyota is one of the main culprits. But I digress...

However, before I hated Toyota, I really thought the early to mid 90s Turbo Supras were really pretty cool cars. In fact, I still think they are. Gulp. :alcoholic:

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I remember my auto enthusiast life back in the 90s - when I simply just liked good cars (ah, to be young) hahahahaha! - I didn't really hate any car company. Now I hate Toyota. As I've watched the Big 3 turn into proverbial has beens, I feel that Toyota is one of the main culprits. But I digress...

Nahh, the Big 3 are their own worst enemies...Toyota is not to blame. I don't hate Toyota, but I don't really like them either...

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