Once again, Toyota
March was a record-setting month for Toyota. It increased U.S. sales by 11.7% on its way to selling 242,675 vehicles, surpassing its previous high set last July. With gas prices and environmental consciousness high, Toyota's hybrid Prius posted its second consecutive month of record sales, more than doubling last year's total units sold.
Overall car sales were also strong, surging 19.4%. Although truck and SUV sales were only 2.7% higher, Toyota's redesigned Tundra pickup continued to gain new buyers; its sales pulled ahead by 11.8%. While its sales aren't even one-fifth of those of Ford's leading F-series, the Tundra is becoming a player in the profitable pickup truck segment.
However, Toyota wasn't quite perfect in March. Each of its Scion models posted decreased sales results for the month. Luckily for Toyota, the Scion brand is a niche player, so its sales have little effect on overall results.
It's basically a given that Toyota will supplant Ford as the No. 2 seller of autos in the U.S. within the next several months. With a diverse lineup featuring a plethora of gas-sipping options, Toyota will continue to gain market share, particularly in the summer months, when gas prices generally climb higher.
Toyota is obviously firing on all cylinders, and its stock has gone along for the ride. Its forward P/E on fiscal 2008 estimates of 13.3 is above that of foreign competitors Nissan
To learn more about Toyota's dominance in the auto world, read:
- A December to Remember for Automakers
- The Worst Stock for 2007: General Motors
- The Best International Stock for 2007: Toyota