Toyota Global Sales Rise 44% in March as Demand Recovers

First Up 04/28/21

Toyota Global Sales Rise 44% in March as Demand Recovers

Toyota's global sales in March rose to a record, as the automaker's ability to keep producing vehicles amid a global shortage of chips puts the company in prime position to capitalize on a resurgence in demand for cars, reports Automotive News. Toyota's global sales in March rose 44 percent to 982,912 units, a record for a single month, the company said in a statement Wednesday. The automaker produced 843,393 units last month, up 32 percent from a year earlier, when the pandemic was forcing global automakers to suspend production. Toyota's exhaustive monitoring of its supply chain and stockpiling of chips have allowed it to keep producing cars to meet rising demand. The bright sales figures come as consumers, who have been saving money during lockdown and are emboldened by signs that the COVID-19 crisis may be waning, are now buying cars. Read more here (Source: Automotive News). 

U.S. Auto Suppliers Oppose Setting Gas-Powered Phase-Out Date

Auto suppliers told U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday they opposes setting a firm date to end the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger cars and warned that a quick shift to all electric vehicles could cost thousands of jobs, reports Reuters. The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), which represents more than 1,000 vehicle suppliers, told a Senate Commerce subcommittee on transportation that the Biden Administration should continue to set regulatory requirements that ensure suppliers keep working to improve internal combustion engines. "If we move too quickly to a fully electrified fleet we could lose 30% of the supplier jobs in this country," said Ann Wilson, MEMA's senior vice president of government affairs. Auto parts manufacturers employ about 560,000 people in the United States. Wilson told the panel new gasoline-powered vehicles "will likely be on the road for an additional 20 years." Read more here (Source: Reuters).

Auto Lobby Seeks Update to Federal Car Safety Standards Following Tesla Crashes

Two major lobbying groups for the U.S. automotive industry are urging updates to federal vehicle safety regulations in the wake of high-profile crashes involving Tesla vehicles, according to CNBC. During a Senate subcommittee hearing Tuesday, executives with the Alliance for Automotive Innovation and Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association said the U.S. needs better standards and protocols to address automated driving systems like those sold by Tesla under the brand names Autopilot and Full Self-Driving. No precise federal regulations or performance standards govern automated driving systems in the U.S. despite their commercial availability. John Bozzella, CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, said a “more strategic and more robust approach” to the government’s New Car Assessment Program is needed. He also said a modernization of the government’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) that specify design, construction, performance, and durability requirements for vehicles also should be analyzed regarding highly-automated and autonomous vehicles. Read more here (Source: CNBC). 

Honda to Idle Three Japanese Plants in May Due to Chip Shortage

Honda Motor Co. will suspend three plants in Japan as many as six days in May due to a chip shortage, a spokesman said on Wednesday. Automotive News reports that Honda will suspend two plants in Saitama Prefecture for six days and its Suzuka plant in Mie Prefecture for five days, he said. The suspension is due to a chip shortage caused by various factors, he added. He declined to outline the volume or models of vehicles affected but said that the company will carefully examine the situation for production following June. Automakers worldwide are struggling due to a shortage of chips, exacerbated by a fire at Renesas Electronic Corp.'s chip plant in Japan and a storm in Texas. Read more here (Source: Automotive News). 

April Used-Car Sales Likely Up 58%; Dealer Groups Show Strong Q1 Pre-Owned Results

Look for used-vehicle sales this month to slow from March but beat year-ago figures significantly. Auto Remarketing reports the assessment is from TrueCar, which is forecasting 3.4 million used sales for April. That monthly sum would be 6% softer than March, but mark a 58% increase from April 2020, which was the first full month of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first quarter was certainly fruitful for public retailers reporting sales results so far. Asbury Automotive Group, which reported earnings results Tuesday, sold 23,519 used retail vehicles in Q1, beating year-ago figures by 16%. Lithia Motors & Driveway sold 59,027 used retail units during the first quarter, a 38.5% increase. AutoNation moved 71,780 used retail units for a 27.8% gain. Cox Automotive reported that the 13-month rolling used-car SAAR was at 40.5 million in March, up from 18.5 million in March 2020. It was at 38 million in February of this year and 38.1 million in January. Cox Automotive is forecasting 39.3 million total used-vehicle sales in 2021, softer than the 40.0 million in 2019 but up from 37.2 million last year. Read more here (Source: Auto Remarketing). 

Five Minutes with AIADA

AIADA remains committed to advocating for international dealers like you, and the issues you care about, this spring in Washington. Find out what AIADA is up to this spring, and how you can get involved, by watching the latest AIADA news report. Click here to watch, and don't forget to share it with your colleagues and employees. 


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