Foreign carmakers hiked sales in the U.S. by 12% to 921,600 units in August, as all major brands reported year-on-year gains.
Volume for foreign marques through the first eight months of 2019 was virtually flat at 6.32 million units, according to an Automotive News tally.
General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles no longer report monthly results. But LMC Automotive says the U.S. market appears to be on its way to another full-year total above 17 million units.
August sales surged for Toyota (+12% to 248,300 units), Honda (+20% to 158,800) and Nissan (+16% to 118,000). Deliveries also jumped for Hyundai (+12% to 63,700 vehicles) and its Kia affiliate (+13% to 60,700). Growth was driven primarily by demand for crossover vehicles and light-duty pickup trucks.
Europe’s top-three import brands also report strong gains for last month. Sales climbed for Volkswagen (+10% to 35,400 units), Mercedes-Benz (+25% to 30,100) and BMW (+7% to 25,500).
Although the RAV4 has plenty of heritage in the small crossover segment, competition has gotten a whole lot tougher, so Toyota has made significant changes to the fourth-generation model.
For conducting business in the U.S. market, Toyota has historically had several separate business entities: a sales and distribution company headquartered in California (Toyota Motor Sales, USA); manufacturing operations (Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America); a racing subsidiary (Toyota Racing Development, USA); the Toyota Technical Center for R&D in Ann Arbor; and a design facility in California (Calty Design Research, Inc.). On April 1, 2006, Toyota merged its R&D operations and its manufacturing operations into a single company.
Once the playground of exotic car makers, the definition of a niche vehicle has expanded to include image vehicles for mainstream OEMs, and specialist models produced on high-volume platforms.