2011 Toyota Camry LEEnlarge Photo
Just last month, the future looked bleak for Toyota. Plants in the United States, Canada and Mexico were operating well below capacity, and no one had a clear picture of when production would return to normal, or even which models would be impacted. Dealers were hoarding supplies of cars like the Prius, which went from selling below sticker in February to selling with Additional Dealer Markup in the aftermath of the March earthquake and tsunami.
The disaster contributed to a staggering 77-percent loss of net income in the first quarter, but things are starting to look up for Japan’s largest automaker.
Toyota’s initial prediction that production wouldn’t return to pre-disaster levels until December now seems way off-base, and the automaker is now reporting critical shortages of just 30 parts, down from 150 parts in April. Their most recent projections have plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico returning to 70 percent of normal production levels next month.
The net result is that Toyota may go from a shortage of new inventory to a surplus; to counter that, the automaker is planning to offer sales incentives on models such as the Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Avalon, Venza and Sienna. Programs will vary by region, and full details on these incentives are expected to be released this weekend.
Noticeably absent from the list are the Prius hybrid and the fuel-efficient Yaris compact, which may continue to experience short-term supply shortages.