Lots of automakers have temporarily halted production in recent months because of the global chip shortage, but Toyota has been less affected, apparently because it is better at maintaining its supply chain. The company took the opportunity last month to cash in.
Toyota pulled ahead of Volkswagen this past year to again become the biggest automaker in the world based on sales, the first time since 2015. It is gaining ground, according to Bloomberg, selling more cars in March globally than it’s sold in any month ever.
Toyota’s global sales in March rose 44% to 982,912 units, a record for a single month, the company said in a statement Wednesday. The world’s largest automaker produced 843,393 units that month, up 32% from a year earlier, when the pandemic was forcing global automakers to suspend production in factories.
Toyota’s exhaustive monitoring of its supply chain and stockpiling of chips have allowed it to keep churning out cars to meet rising demand. The bright sales figures come as consumers, flush with cash and emboldened by signs that the Covid-19 crisis may be waning, snap up cars. Sales were particularly strong in China and North America, a Toyota spokeswoman said.
Toyota reported a little over nine million sales globally for its fiscal year, from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, down only 4 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. Worldwide production in the past fiscal year, meanwhile, was just over eight million cars, according to Toyota, surely in part because of the pandemic shutdowns last spring.
Still, if you’re Toyota right now, you’ve gotta be feeling the wind at your back, as Toyota is the auto industry’s most reliable performer year in and year out, with a consistency that other automakers must look at and wonder how.