No industry is spared from the grip of the coronavirus. The automotive sector was among the hardest hit by the pandemic with the virus infecting employees, forcing factory shutdowns, and making customers reluctant to come out of their homes.
That said, one automaker says that they are recovering faster than expected. That brand is Toyota. According to them, they are at about 90% from last year's sales, and some key markets even went up instead of down.
Helping Toyota bounce back from the sales slump caused by the pandemic is the Chinese market. Over there, sales shot up by a substantial 27.2%. Toyota attributes their rise is China with models such as the Levin (Sport-look Corolla sedan) and Lexus ES. All in all, they sold 164,354 units in one month. Even production is up by 15% in China, rolling out 119,711 vehicles from various assembly lines.
In Toyota's home market of Japan, sales are still down by 10.6%, but they were still able to sell 104,535 units there. The all-new Harrier helped the brand on their road to recovery, along with the all-new Yaris and Raize. The redesigned Yaris even became Japan's best-selling car for August, and the Raize ranked second for the month's sales tally.
From a global standpoint, sales are down by 10.6%, but it could have been lower had the Chinese market sales not been up by nearly 30%. From January to August 2020, Japan's biggest automaker shifted 5,766,821 vehicles, including which also includes Lexus, Daihatsu, and Hino models. With a raft of new models, Toyota is expecting to see more vehicles drive out their dealerships before the end of 2020.
So what are the other key models that will help Toyota? In Southeast Asia, the recently updated Fortuner and Hilux should help turn the tide. Since its launch in Thailand, the Fortuner claimed the top sales spot over there, shifting 1,750 units and a lion's share of the mid-size SUV market. The Hilux on the other hand saw 11,815 new customers in Thailand, making it the second best-selling pick-up in that country.
Locally, the Vios continues to be Toyota's top-seller, and the facelift should help sales pick up even quicker. The launch of the upgraded Hilux locally should be good for the brand here, too. Gaining traction in the region is the Corolla Cross, which was launched here back in August. Also, we're expecting the updated Fortuner in local showrooms soon, and the Wigo is expected to be the country's top-selling subcompact hatchback before the year's end.
Abroad, the RAV4 is still the best-selling crossover in the U.S, a very important market for Toyota. Also, the Yaris Cross is making a splash over in Europe. Despite the rise of crossovers, the Camry is still a big seller in the U.S, and that was facelifted earlier this year. Speaking of sedans, the Crown remains a staple in its home market.
With a raft of new models, along with an established model range, it seems that Toyota will weather this storm relatively unscathed.