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2013 Lexus ES (Dewhurst Photography/Toyota)
2013 Lexus ES (Dewhurst Photography/Toyota)

Driving it home

Toyota and Honda roar back with soaring sales Add to ...

Toyota and Honda are back as a one-two automotive punch, in Canada and around the world.

Toyota brand sales in Canada are up 26.2 per cent so far this year, while the company’s Lexus luxury arm is up 9.6 per cent on the year. The Honda brand? It’s up 23.7 per cent so far in 2012, while on the Acura side, sales jumped 16.4 per cent.

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Dealer lots are now stocked and buyers seem to be flocking to Toyota and Honda stores. Both auto makers are also back to building vehicles at full capacity, which means dealer lots will remain stuffed with new models to sell.

Both Toyota and Honda were staggered last year by earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan, as well as quality and recall issues. But now a recent headline at www.just-auto.com heralded upbeat sales and profitability forecasts at Toyota. Automotive News suggested that Toyota is back, describing the company as suddenly “looking like the juggernaut of old.” Similarly, the New York Times heralded these developments by noting that Toyota was “back in the game.”

Toyota and Honda have a barrage of new models coming this year, which suggests sales will remain strong. Toyota’s latest includes the 2013 Lexus ES sedan, the new Scion FR-S sports car and a reinvented RAV4 due later this year or early next year. Honda’s Acura brand has a new RDX sport-utility, along with the new ILX sedan, too. Coming this fall is the new Accord.

These Japanese car companies are not to be underestimated, even when hammered by unprecedented natural disasters.

jcato@globeandmail.com

Follow on Twitter: @catocarguy

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