DETROIT (AP) — Toyota’s top U.S. executive says car sales nationwide have nearly bottomed out and his company will keep making them despite a dramatic shift to trucks and SUVs.
U.S. CEO Jim Lentz told the Detroit Economic Club Wednesday that car sales fell below 30 percent of sales last month, and he thinks that’s close to the bottom.
While Fiat Chrysler, Ford and General Motors are canceling many car models, Lentz doesn’t see that happening with Toyota. Consumers are still buying more than 4 million compact, midsize and near-luxury cars each year, he said. “There’s no way I’m going to walk away from that,” Lentz said. “We are always going to have a bias toward passenger cars.”
Nationwide, passenger car sales are on pace to be 800,000 vehicles below 2017, while truck and SUV sales should increase by the same amount. Low fuel prices, ease of entry and exit, and ample storage space have fueled an SUV sales boom that has accelerated during the past two years.