October 4, 2010

'Illogical' perhaps, but SUV sales are doing well

Toyota's chart shows how SUV market share is improving mainly at the expense of large cars and wagons.
Seems illogical given rising fuel prices and the state of the economy, but the SUV market is growing, says Toyota New Zealand’s CEO Alistair Davis. "Overall, the new vehicle market fell almost 30 per cent during the global financial crisis, with a five per cent growth projected for next year," he said at the launch of the revised Highlander. SUVs showed the strongest growth amongst Toyota’s product mix, a trend reflected in several other manufacturers' lines.

"Vehicle buyers are going for the best option they can afford in a tough economic environment, choosing the archetypical go anywhere wagon. An SUV provides the ideal mix of space, comfort, safety, style and performance,” he said. In Toyota's world, that means RAV4 sales are up 47 per cent for the first eight months of the year, the Highlander 110 per cent. Among "real" 4WDs, the Prado is up 177 per cent tro 546, the marketplace obviously not having listened to 4wdNewz; and the Land Cruiser 200 by 39 per cent to 128.

Meanwhile, used imports have bounced back, following a longer-term decline due to Japanese supply factors, currency, emission regulations and the state of the economy. “This year they are up almost a third on the low point in 2009, which is due in part to the support the Japanese new vehicle industry received during the recession helping the supply of used vehicles," said the Toyota boss. "We see that growth continuing in 2011, albeit at a slightly reduced rate.”

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