Toyota US Sales in April Lower on Fleet Cutback image

After a strong first quarter Toyota expects little growth for April after trimming fleet sales.

During the first quarter Toyota, Scion and Lexus sales increased 8.7% compared with the same period last year. In March Toyota sales to car-rental businesses and companies accounted for almost 14% of the automaker’s US volume.

“We’re going to sell less fleet this year, as a division, than last year — probably 8,000 or 9,000 units less” in April, said U.S. Group Vice President Bill Fay. “Our business will probably end up looking kind of flat, year over year, because of fleet coming down.”

Toyota plans to sell this year more than 2.2 million vehicles in the States, up 6% and the highest level since 2008, and to keep its Camry the best-selling vehicle in the US for the 12th straight year. During the first quarter Camry sales dropped 4.3% due to tougher competition from the new Ford Fusion sedan, the new Nissan Altima sedan and the redesigned Honda Accord.

“We’re still very optimistic to stay on our plan, which is to sell over 400,000 Camrys,” said Fay. “At the end of the day people see the new Fusion and like it and the Accord is doing well. Our goal, in spite of better competition, is for Camry to stay No. 1.”

Source: Bloomberg