Toyota Wants to Produce Less Cars, More SUVs
Toyota USA is looking to reduce the number of trim levels and model variants it offers on its cars and expand its truck and SUV offerings.
Speaking to Bloomberg, head of Toyota’s U.S. sales, Jack Hollis, said the automaker will analyze the sales performance of certain trim levels on vehicles like the Yaris, Corolla, Camry and Prius and adjust the respective lineups accordingly. This would free up some cash for Toyota to produce different trim levels and versions of its trucks and SUVs, like the recently introduced Toyota Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner TRD Pro models, for example.
“We will look and evaluate every single one,” Hollis said.” The Yaris, Corolla and Prius each have several different variants. Do we need all of them? We just want to evaluate the performance of each.”
In January 2016, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne announced the company would kill off the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart, making room within FCA to produce more profit-heavy trucks and SUVs. Toyota is following in FCA’s footsteps with this most recent move, but it won’t be making such drastic changes. Instead of killing off full models, it will only reduce the number of trims offered. The automaker recently introduced the new Avalon at the 2018 Detroit auto show and remains committed to sedan sales in North America, with Hollis predicting Americans will buy around 5.5m four-doors this year.
“I don’t mind it if other people want to get out of the market,” Hollis said. “We should be able to maintain and continue to grow market share.”
The Prius is one model that could be set for a shakeup. Toyota’s hybrid mainstay suffered its worst sales year since 2004 in 2017, and with four different Prius models currently being offered, it seems likely that at least one will be killed off in North America. The Corolla lineup could also use some adjusting, with the compact sedan offered in four different trim levels – five if you count the Corolla iM hatchback.
With Toyota currently analyzing the sales performance of its various cars, it should be ready to make adjustments to its US lineup by next year.
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Sam McEachern holds a diploma in journalism from St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario, and has been covering the automotive industry for over 5 years. He conducts reviews and writes AutoGuide's news content. He's a die-hard motorsports fan with a passion for performance cars of all sorts.
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