Toyota Optimistic About US Sales Due to Aging Vehicles image

Toyota is optimistic about the sales in the US this year, relying on customers that have to change their aging vehicles.

Jim Lentz, Toyota’s new chief executive of North America, said that the company expects new-car sales in the US reach 15.3 million units this year, an increase from 14.7 million units in 2012. Six months ago Toyota set a 2013 sales forecast of 14.7 million, as it believed that the fiscal cliff will dampen the economy.

“We’re cautiously optimistic about a growing economy, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty that can derail the consumer’s attitude,” Lentz said in an interview after the New York Auto Show.

Still, the uncertainty is offset by the aging cars, which now average an all-time high of more than 11 years, and the fact that consumers are willing to buy news ones as the stock and housing markets are increasing improving the buyers’ mood. Toyota’s brands are expected to sell 2.2 million vehicles this year, an increase from 2.08 million last year.

On Tuesday, April 2nd, when automakers will report US March sales, Toyota expects the industry’s annual sales rate to reach 15.4 million units, which would make March the fifth consecutive month with sales surpassing 15 million units.