Toyota (TM) cut its 2009 global sales forecast by 7%, from 10.4 million vehicles sold to 9.7 million. Analysts had anticipated 9.8 million.
The downgrade in its 2009 sales forecast follows last month’s cut in its 2008 global sales target to 9.5 million. Sales expectations in the U.S., Europe and Japan have plummeted.
Toyota is the world’s most profitable carmaker and is on the cusp of passing General Motors (GM) this year as the “global sales leader”. But while Toyota’s problems may seem small compared to the disasters at GM and Ford (F), Toyota is not magic. The company does make the revered and coveted Prius, but it also makes trucks. Thus, it continues to implement its own turnaround plan:
- Suspending U.S. production of light trucks for three months to prevent inventory from ballooning
- Build more hot-selling Priuses at a factory under construction in Mississippi instead of the Highlander SUV it had planned to make
- A “plug-in” version of the Prius which can recharged through an electric socket, will be available to fleet customers starting at the end of 2009
- A mass-produced all-electric car is slated to be released in the early part of next decade
- Building a low-cost car, expected to sell for under $9,000, aimed at emerging markets such as India and Brazil
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