Home> Business
Toyota's worldwide sales fall for 2nd straight year in 2009

Toyota Motor Corp. announced Monday from its head office in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, its global auto sales in fiscal 2009 fell 1.4 percent to 7,291,000 units, marking the second successive year of decline.

In the United States, Toyota's biggest global market, sales plummeted 10.4 percent in the year to March 31, as the automaker's brand image took a battering from a series of recalls.

Similarly, sales slumped in Europe falling 15.3 percent to 874, 000 units, but it was a different story on Toyota's home turf with sales climbing 15.3 percent to 1,535,000 units in Japan, marking the first rise in five years.

Hefty tax breaks and government incentive programs and subsidies for purchasing and owning environmentally friendly vehicles, like Toyota's top-selling yet infamous Prius hybrid model, according to industry insiders have kept sales of Toyota healthy in Japan.

China saw sales increase by a massive 34.6 percent to 759,000 units, but figures for Brazil and India although positive on a year on year basis, were negligible in terms of the world's largest automaker's global sales figures.

Toyota's global production figures rose in 2009 by 2.5 percent to 7,279,000 units, following a slump the previous year as the financial meltdown took its toll.

Year-on-year Toyota also announced Monday global sales surged 26.3 percent in March, despite millions of safety recalls worldwide, most recently involving two of its sport utility vehicles.

Toyota recently widened a recall of two sports utility vehicles -- the Lexus GX 460 and some models of the Land Cruiser Prado -- to 34,000 units worldwide over stability problems connected to cornering at high speeds.

Prior to this, the crisis-hit carmaker has recalled around ten million vehicles worldwide in recent months due to a series of accelerator and brake defects.

However spokesman Paul Nolasco said Monday the Toyota group, which includes brands Daihatsu and Hino trucks, sold 876,126 vehicles in March, up from 693,759 a year earlier and that global production jumped 82.2 percent to 860,534 units compared to a year ago.

In a blow to Toyota trying to address it's globally tainted PR image and push its "safety first" envelope to the public, the company last week agreed to pay a 16.4 million U.S. dollar fine for hiding for at least four months accelerator pedal defects blamed in more than 50 deaths that occurred in the U.S.