Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Toyota 'Phil' Just Keeps Blogging (On Toyota)

David Zalubowski

A few weeks ago, after writing a blog about the successToyota has been enjoying, I was given a new nickname from a friend who is a retired Fordman who spent his career working in Detroit. He started calling me "Toyota Phil". The way he saw it, I've reported and blogged about Toyota's success so much, I must be the company's #1 fan. Well, when my friend reads this blog, he'll really start talking.

This morning in Tokyo, Toyota announced its forecast for growth over the next two years. Not only is Toyota on the verge of becoming the world's top automaker this year selling 9.34 million vehicles, but by 2009 the company projects to sell 10.4 million vehicles worldwide. If that happens, Toyota will set a record for single year sales. In short, Toyota shows no sign of slowing down. So tell me something new?

What's new is Toyota makes it clear that it's future, and frankly the future of the auto industry is not centered around the United States, it's overseas. This is actually good news for the Big 3. Yeah, that's right, Toyota Phil is saying that the booming international markets are good for the Big 3.

While many of us see only the headlines about Detroit losing market share in the U.S., what's often overlooked is how well and how much potential awaits GM , Ford and Chrysler overseas. For example, Chevy is one of the world's fastest growing brands and is red hot in Asia. Ford is strong and growing in Brazil and perhaps the best positioned domestic automaker in the booming Russian market. Meanwhile, Chrysler and Dodge are mainly North American brands with terrific potential to grow in Europe and China.

So as you read about Toyota's impressive growth in global sales- and yes, it is impressive thanks to the company's success in Europe and the U.S.- keep something else in mind. The big 3 are also growing overseas and in a world where world-wide sales matter, Detroit's automakers are in a pretty good position.

Have a great holiday weekend.

Questions?  Comments?