Between the data that came out on July auto saleson Tuesday and the Toyota quarterly earnings report early this morning, there is a growing perception Toyota has weathered the worst when it comes to recalling millions of vehicles worldwide.
That question is already being asked on Wall Street.
And some analysts are suggesting Toyota has felt its biggest impact from lost sales and will slowly re-build sales for the rest of this year. In Japan, the company has swung to its biggest quarterly profit in two years.
So is Toyota out of the woods? Not entirely.
There's no doubt Toyota will see more damaging headlines as scores of cases work their way through the courts. Heck, earlier this week the Los Angeles Times reportedthat court documents turned over by Toyota indicate the company knew of unintended acceleration cases as early as 2003. This further fuels the belief among many lawyers and consumers Toyota has known about unintended acceleration problems for years and dragged its feet fixing the problem. Toyota maintains it will show in court that it has done nothing illegal in handling concerns about cars suddenly speeding up. This is a hornets nest for Toyota that will continue to produce stings for months to come.
That said, Toyota sales in the U.S. appear to have bottomed out. In fact, last month Toyota outsold Ford (without Volvo) for the first time since March. Sure, the company has been forced to spend more on incentives and that's cutting into profit margins, but if it's helping sales and market share, Toyota will make that trade off.