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(Sarah Dea For The Globe and Mail)
(Sarah Dea For The Globe and Mail)

Driving It Home

Toyota a reliable money-making machine once again Add to ...

Toyota Motors is a back to being a reliable money-making machine, even if sales have stalled somewhat, particularly in Canada and the United States.

Reuters is reporting that Toyota is expected to post operating profit of around 1.3 trillion yen ($13.19-billion) for the year ended March, making this the company’s best year since 2008, when they posted an operating profit of 2.27 trillion yen.

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Toyota clearly has its costs under control. You see, profits are not coming from huge sales increases in North America. Toyota brand sales in Canada are off 4.8 per cent this year, with market share off 0.6 per cent, down to 9.9 per cent from 10.5 a year ago.

In the U.S., www.just-auto.com reports that Toyota sales slid 1.1 per cent last month compared to April 2012. “Truck sales remained strong but Toyota brand car sales fell and the Camry was outsold for a second consecutive month, this time by the Honda Accord,” says the news service.

So Toyota is profitable, yes. Massively. But what’s up with sales in Canada and the U.S.?

Meanwhile, in case you hadn’t noticed, Detroit’s auto makers are looking quite healthy these days. All are pretty profitable, though not in Toyota’s league. On the other hand, all have picked up market share in both Canada and the U.S.

In Canada, the combined market share of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler is up to 45.9 per cent this year, from 44.3 a year earlier. Ford is No. 1 in Canada, Chrysler No. 2 and GM No. 3.

In the U.S., Automotive News reports that April was a banner month for the Detroit auto makers. All reported double digit improvements and increased market share. Chrysler, Ford and GM grabbed 47.2 per cent of the U.S. market. Not bad, when you think that just a few years ago GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy protection.

So what do we take from all this? As a company, Toyota is a massive force. As car companies, the Detroit Three are winning more buyers than many skeptics thought possible a few years ago.

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