US: Toyota working to increase pickup and SUV production image

Though the world’s largest automaker in the world has taken command of three of the passenger car segments in the US, Toyota is now focusing on directing its resources to build even more pickups and SUVs.

Japan’s biggest carmaker has increased sales in the US through November by 5.4%, the same amount as the overall industry and is on course to deliver 2.3 million cars and trucks this year. According to Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor Sales, the company forecasts that it would take command of three passenger car segments in 2014: Corolla will be the best-selling subcompact car, Camry will be the best-selling midsize car and Avalon will be the best-selling full-size car. Additionally, the RAV4 and Lexus RX are two of the most popular crossovers in their segments, respectively.

On the other hand, the iconic Prius hybrid has dropped 12% so far this year as the lower gas prices has redirected consumer attention back towards pickups and SUVs and the latter two categories are expected to outsell passenger cars in 2015, according to some industry experts. Because of the trend, Toyota is now adjusting North American production levels to build more Tacoma and Tundra pickups as well as Highlander SUVs.