Toyota's previously reported group-wide global sales forecast cut has gotten bigger. The company now estimates sales will fall by 350,000 additional units, for a 2008 worldwide estimated total of 9.5 million vehicles. More significantly, Toyota brand sales in the U.S. are now expected to drop 7% from 2007; this, despite reports just a month ago that sales would be flat for 2008. So this means GM will retain its title as world's largest automaker, right? Well, not exactly.
Toyota is still expected to be several hundred thousand units ahead of General Motors at the end of 2008, mainly due to the fact that the same market forces hurting Toyota are decimating sales at the General. Coupled with the fact that Toyota is already working to switch truck and SUV production over to car production at its U.S. plants indicates a weak 2008 should be followed with a much-improved product mix for 2009; time will tell how quickly GM can move to introduce its new small cars like the Chevy Cruze to the market.
But perhaps the biggest indicator separating the two companies lies in what we affectionately refer to as "the bottom line:" Despite all the worldwide market issues, Toyota profit for the year ending next March is still expected to be $12.8 billion. Has GM made that kind of money since Nixon was in office? [Automotive News (Sub. Req.); Photo Credit: Off-Road Web]