On the surface, you'd look at that and think Toyota limped out of horrific 2010 where massive recalls pummeled sales. That's the surprise.
For the year, Toyota sales were only fractionally lower.
In fact, Toyota sold roughly 6,500 fewer vehicles in 2010 than in 2009. Pretty remarkable when you consider the company had to recall millions of cars and trucks, was the butt of jokes about shoddy quality, and spent much of the year in PR hell.
So why did Toyota not see sales plunge as much as you would expect? You can thank customer loyalty.
Despite all the bad press and the recalls, Toyota buyers generally stuck by Toyota. Sure, the automaker had to sweeten the pot with incentives to close many of those sales, but it still got folks in the door. That's a testament to the goodwill and quality reputation Toyota build up over the last thirty years. Has Toyota exhausted that good will? It's hard to say. At some point, the company will pay an even bigger price for having an aging line-up that lacks momentum.