Toyota May Consider Future Car Price Hikes

Toyota Motor said on Friday it may need to consider raising the prices of its passenger vehicles in the future due to surging raw materials costs, though fierce global competition would make such a move difficult.

A Tacoma pickup truck on the lot of a Toyota dealership.
David Zalubowski
A Tacoma pickup truck on the lot of a Toyota dealership.

"Our basic principle is to continue to work on cost reductions within the company first," said Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco.

"But we won't be able to avoid thinking about price hikes in the future considering a recent jump in raw materials costs," he said, adding that no decisions had been made at present.

He also said automakers could not easily hike prices in the face of tough international competition.

Just a few days earlier, Nissan Motor Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said Japan's No. 3 automaker would likely lift car prices in Japan to offset a surge in the price of raw materials such as steel.

But he suggested that Nissan might wait for Toyota to raise prices first: "It's very, very difficult to move in a market without somehow the leader of the market (making a) move."

The Nikkei business daily reported earlier on Friday that Toyota, the world's largest automaker, may go so far as to raise the prices of all domestic vehicles at once and would make a final decision as early as next month.

"We'll make a final decision after evaluating April-June sales and production costs," the paper quoted a top Toyota official as saying.

Shares of Toyota fell 2.3 percent to end the morning session at 5,050 yen, in line with a fall in the benchmark Nikkei 225 Average.