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Toyota Sales Missing U.S. Goal

Tuesday, 24 Jun 2008 | 5:45 PM ET

Over the last three weeks, I have heard the same thing over and over, often from those who think I'm partial to Toyota.

It goes something like this: "You never say when things go wrong for Toyota." Or, my other favorite: "How come you never say when the one of the Big Three increases sales or does well with a particular model?"

Well, for all of you, Toyota Phil has a news flash: Toyota Motor says it will be falling short of its sales goal for the U.S.

My sarcasm is inentional because I find that when Toyota does fall short of expectations or makes a wrong move, it is reportedly vigorously.

And in this case, Toyota saying that sales will fall short of forecasts shows that the slow economy is not just hitting Motown -- the non-U.S. automakers are also finding it tougher, though not to the same degree as Detroit's Big Three. That's because Toyota, Nissan and Honda sell far fewer trucks and SUVs, the models most out of favor right now.

While Toyota may not hit its goal of growing U.S. sales by 1 percent this year, its decline will not be as much as at General Motors, Ford Motor or Chrysler. And there is serious speculation Toyota could pass GM in June monthly sales to become No. 1 in the U.S.

That's not being partial to Toyota -- it's simply stating the situation.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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  • Phil LeBeau is a CNBC auto and airline industry reporter based in the Chicago bureau and editor of the Behind the Wheel section on CNBC.com.

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