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Toyota Sales Soar

Uncertain times have shaken a few trees and mixed up the numbers across the world, but Toyota still comes out ahead.

Toyota steering wheel interior

As Volkswagen celebrated becoming the best-selling manufacturer in the UK and Tesla was being applauded in every corner of the electric car media for achieving the second best-selling car in the UK, Toyota quietly took home the big prize, number one in global sales.

The warriors of automotive media had battled it out for most extravagant headline for electric vehicle sales and 'last of the dinosaurs' as companies pumped out even more powerful combustion engines but around the corner, away from the party poppers and peculiar statistics that are thrown out without context sits Toyota. They have released only a few new models and have had less parties than a politician over getting a new hybrid or electric-only car off the line, and yet they have once again waltzed their way to global top spot, outselling rivals on a near 2:1 ratio when taking into account their luxury brand Lexus. Volkswagen, like many other manufacturers were fighting with one glove behind their back in 2021 as global supply chains slowed and caused havoc to production timetables and so it isn't a completely fair fight. Toyota, having long established a slightly more insular approach, stockpiling, and preparation, have still been affected, but not so much that they couldn't grow sales, quoted to be just over 10% higher.

It will be of little surprise that the RAV4, the firm's mid-size SUV has been the best seller, even more so than the Corolla according to them, but electric sales were also up, although Toyota has had a long head start over many other manufacturers when it comes to offering some form of electrification in their vehicle line-up with the long-standing Prius still a common sight. The majority of Toyota's range is now hybrid, with only the base model Aygo and the GR range (including the Supra) sticking with petrol power.

Curiously Toyota may be unveiling the best view of the future (ignoring government regulation that appears to change on a whim). If you walk into Toyota dealer today you can buy several fully electric vehicles, the car you are most likely to leave with is either a self-charging hybrid, or plug-in hybrid, and for the small number that treat car buying as one of their greatest pleasures, there are a small selection of combustion engine sports cars. Add in that those only interested in four wheels at the cheapest price will leave with a combustion engine, in form of the Aygo, because as is becoming clearer by the day, it is not only very difficult to make a cheap city car fully electric, it is also of little interest to manufacturers that can demand chunky profits elsewhere. In fact small cars have become of so little interest to many manufacturers that many were axed in 2020 and 2021, leaving the Aygo few true competitors. The Fiat 500 is one of our greatest indicators, starting at £20,000 it falls far outside the price range of someone that just needs cheap transport. So perhaps Toyota are having such a success in global sales not just because of their parts stockpile, but because they have managed the market and its requirements better than any other. We at The Miles Driven glanced over the UK lineup, and minus the diesel Land Cruiser, which would almost certainly be a long long wait for arrival, if you could even get one, the lineup seems geared to the market in nearly every sector with Lexus carrying on the torch as you begin to look for higher priced, faster, and more luxurious vehicles. We won't mention the near-year-long wait you will face if you fancy a Hilux though. Toyota commercials are no match for the passenger vehicle success at the moment, seemingly more affected by supply demands than other models. Only time will tell if Toyota has planned out their future to meet the ever-tightening requirements of legislators, as of now they appear to be playing a smarter game, making it clear that snapping your fingers and providing a carbon-neutral transport sector is probably long out of reach, but a transition, allowing for the small number of enthusiasts, the majority of people that want hassle free and low-cost motoring, and those wishing to have zero tailpipe emissions can be met much faster, in fact, they're already doing it.

A comment from Miles.

Car manufacturers have recently been taking notes from the specialist car manufacturers and attempting to follow their hand of cards when it comes to maximising profit. Mercedes recently said they will deliberately undersupply the market for the foreseeable future to maximise unit profit. Seeing Toyota take an opposite approach, and with the long held belief that once a customer is through the door, selling another to them will be much easier. Could a sudden reversal be had if Toyota is joined by other manufacturers that take the opportunity to gain the coveted market share and force others to join the discounting and high production game? 'Once a customer, always a customer' I was once told when stood on the forecourt with a sales director that lost sleep over every customer that didn't walk out the showroom doors with a new set of keys. Only time will tell who has the best strategy to continue being a profitable business as the market transitions.

Don't forget to check out The Miles Driven Podcast, available wherever you get you podasts, or follow the link, The Miles Driven Podcast


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