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Toyota News from ToyoLand

Huge fuel-pump recall

Toyota is recalling nearly 700,000 vehicles in the United States alone, because of a problem with Denso fuel pumps (Denso was created by Toyota, which still has a major stake in the company). Hybrids are not included for the moment, because they can still run if the fuel pump shuts down, but they will be addressed later. Not all vehicles covered by the recall have the defective fuel pumps.

Vehicles affected are the 2018-19 4Runner, Highlander, Camry, Land Cruiser, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma, and Tundra; 2018-19 Lexus RC, GS, GX, IS, LC, LS, LX; 2019 Lexus NX and ES; and Toyota Avalon and Corolla, in all cases built from August 1, 2018 to January 31, 2019. This is NHTSA recall 20V-012.

The problem is that the impeller may absorb fuel and deform, causing it to hit the body; that could illuminate the check engine light, cause a stall at low speed, prevent the engine from starting, cause rough running, or, rarely, stall the engine at higher speeds. Toyota hasn't figured out the root cause yet, nor has it developed a final fix. Owners who already paid for repairs can get reimbursed.

TRD Camry, Avalon

New 2020 Camry and Avalon TRD models are here! Essentially, the same engines but heavy suspension tuning and lots of cosmetic effects, as seen below on the Avalon. They come equipped with lots of luxury gear, too.

Avalon TRD

Toyota, Lexus #1 in quality for 2019 (1-6-2020)

Once again, Lexus and Toyota topped the J.D. Power dependability charts. “Dependability,” a word ironically coined by the Dodge Brothers (when they were indeed very dependable), is essentially defined as long-term reliability—“long term” defined here as “three years.”

Lexus had an average of 1.06 problems per car; Toyota tied with Porsche at 108 problems per car, but topped the “mass market” brands. Chevrolet and Buick, surprisingly, took the #4 and #5 spots. Equally surprisingly, Mini and BMW followed them. The industry average was 1.36 problems per car. Fiat and Land Rover took their usual places at the bottom of the chart, surprisingly accompanied by China-owned Volvo; Dodge and Ram fell near the bottom too, though Chrysler managed to come near the average (above Ford, Honda, Lincoln, Mazda, and Acura, among others).

2019 U.S. Sales (1-2-2020)

Toyota reported that it sold 2.38 million cars in the United States during 2019, down 1.8% from 2018. The company remains the top seller of hybrids, passenger cars, SUVs, and small trucks; and was the best selling retail automaker in the United States (excluding fleet sales). The RAV4 and Tacoma both set new full-year records.

toyota sales

The ever-so-slight increase in Corolla sales is actually a triumph, given that sedan and hatchback sales have been falling rather dramatically in the United States. The Corolla easily outsold all Fiat Chrysler sedans combined, for example; and the Camry and Avalon, which share a great deal of engineering and parts, are icing on the cake. Camry sales fell by just 2% for the year, which again is not bad in face of a sector collapse. Prius sales fell by 20%, partly because of the new Corolla Hybrid, and largely because gasoline prices in the United States are at historic lows, and “green” Americans have a range of electric cars to choose from.

In some ways, the most interesting parts of the sales chart are the rare cars: the Mirai, 86/FR-S, and Supra, whose sales can now be seen.

toyota sales

This is not the first year that Toyota SUVs beat Toyota car sales, but it’s worth noting that the RAV4 was again far, far above the Corolla and Camry in sales; indeed, if you pit it against Toyota’s best selling car and Fiat Chrysler’s best selling car, combined, the RAV4 would still outsell both. The bigger Highlander, down by just 2%, is still selling quite well, in a very crowded segment; it ran just about neck-and-neck with the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Explorer. The Sienna minivan fell by 16%, not as bad as the Chrysler Pacifica (down 17%) and Dodge Caravan (down 19%), but also not enough to gain even a #2 position. The 4Runner isn't doing respectably well but not causing Jeep execs to lose much sleep.

In pickups, the Tacoma continues to grow despite new competition from GM and Ford, with just under a quarter million sold; the Tundra continues to lose ground, though, in an expanding market, down 6%. The fact that it beat a hundred thousand sales is actually impressive, given the dated and noncompetitive powertrain. Still, America’s #3, Ram, beat it 633,694 to 111,673 (a mildly unfair comparison since Ram includes heavy duty pickups and chassis-cabs, but neither GM nor FCA break out pickup sales at all).

Overall, it was a good year for Toyota. Many feared the company would be badly hurt by the sudden move from sedans to crossovers and pickups, but Toyota’s RAV4 and Highlander grabbed a great deal of the market, and the Corolla and Camry are still doing well—though Toyota is likely not making nearly as much money from them as in the past, since they’re now heavily loaded with features. Lexus in particular seems to have weathered the storm very well; it gave up around 12,000 car sales but gained around 12,000 truck sales and ended up even. See an overview of sales for all major companies the U.S. and, from the same site, this look at Toyota vs all the American companies.

Recalls: C-HR, Corolla/Corolla Hybrid, Prius

Recall #19V877000: Toyota is recalling around 10,000 2019-2020 C-HR, 2020 Corolla, and 2020 Corolla Hybrids because the rear seat belts may not lock properly. Customers with questions can call 888-270-9371. The recall is to start by February 3, 2020.

Recall #19V876000: Around 4,000 2019 Toyota Prius hybrids are being recalled because they may have a short-circuit in the gauge cluster, causing the speedometer and fuel gauge to blank out. The fix is replacing a bad ROM chip. The recall starts around February 3, 2020.

2020 Highlander boasting 24% economy boost

The 2020 Toyota Highlander will take on the Ford Explorer and other midsize SUVs, with a standard 295-horsepower V6 engine hooked up to an eight-speed automatic; combined fuel economy is anticipated to be 23-24 mpg (combined). The hybrid, though, is the clever choice, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with dual electric motors rated at a combined 240 horsepower—and 36 mpg, combined. That’s more power and far more economy than the hybrid Highlander it’s replacing (though part of the increase may be because buyers can get either front or all wheel drive with their hybrids). The center touch screen will be either 8 or 12.3 inches, depending on trim level, and a host of safety systems will be standard across the board. Pricing starts at $35,720 with V6, $1,400 more with hybrid. (Source: Automotive News.)

Headlight recall on Supra (December 12)

BMW is recalling 2020 Toyota Supras, because the headlight control unit might fail, resulting in the headlights going out. BMW will replace the controllers. Only 245 cars are affected, incluiding the BMW Z4 and 330i—but it affects every car in that group. Nearly all of the cars are Supras—177 Supras and just 37 BMWs are affected. That might not be an indicator of sales, because BMW went back through the records to see where the badly made controllers were installed (Lear, the supplier, discovered debris in their production equipment). The problem was first discovered in late July 2019; ten failures occured before the recall decision was made in late November.

November 2019 US Sales (December 5)

November 2019 was a good month for Toyota USA, which went from 190,423 sales in Nov. 2018 to 207,857 sales this year; the company was still down somewhat for the year, but with 2.18 million sales year-to-date, there’s no question but that Toyota has done well for 2019 compared with other companies (by comparison, Nissan/Mitsubishi recorded 1.35 million, Honda checked in with 1.47 million, and Volkswagen failed to even hit 600,000). Toyota remains the best-selling import company in the United States by a wide margin.

toyota usa sales 2019

Corolla sales rose for the year as the cars were dramatically improved, with 281,108 sales year-to-date; it was outsold by the Civic, with 302,737 sales, but trounced all other compact imports, such as the Mazda3 (47,566) and Golf/GTI (34,729). The Camry, which had been America’s best-selling car for years, finished up November with 310,669 sales, trouncing the Accord’s 247,885; the Sonata’s 80,361; and Mazda6’s under-20,000 sales.

Toyota’s best seller, year-to-date, was the RAV4, with a stunning 406,789 sales—more than the Tacoma (228,074) and Tundra (102,9659) put together. The #2 and #3 were, as noted, the Camry and Corolla. The next over-200,000 vehicle was the Highlander, with 218,989 sold—all but one made in the USA.

In other niches, the Sienna will clearly not be winning the minivan sales race with just 68,409 YTD sales—down by 12,500 from last year. The Sequoia isn’t exactly challenging GM in large SUVs, either, with 9,413 sales. The 4Runner did better, at 120,359. The Prius lost some sales to the (similar) Corolla Hybrid, turning in 63,660 sales—still a good number. Fewer than 21,000 people bought a Yaris and under 26,000 bought an Avalon.

Lexus registered 73,389 traditional-car sales, down by 10,000 from the same period last year; but it made up for it with sales of 189,400 trucks and SUVs, up by 10,000. The most popular by far was the RX, with 96,967 sales, followed by the NX with 50,760; in cars, most of the sales were the ES, with 46,311 of 73,389 total. The GS, LC, LS, and RC barely registered. Lexus checked in with 262,789 sales year to date, behind BMW (324,072) and Mercedes (323,130), but well ahead of Audi (198,261).

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