Record month for hybrids, light trucks

Toyota Motor North America finished the year with a strong December as Toyota brand sales skyrocketed 23 percent to 211,378, while Lexus rose 8.2 percent to 38,223. With three extra selling days in the month, both divisions set records.

The Toyota brand reported the best December light-vehicle, hybrid and light-truck tallies in its history. Its top-selling sedans, the Camry and Corolla, continued to thrive in a market hungry for light trucks. And each of its pickup, crossover, SUV and minivan nameplates had double-digit increases — except the C-HR, which was up 0.2 percent.

Lexus had its best month of the year. Its top-selling sedan, the ES, eked out a slight gain, while each of its light trucks except the UX saw increases. The luxury division had its best-ever month for hybrid sales.

For the year, TMNA was down 11 percent from pre-pandemic 2019 levels, at 2,112,941 vehicles, its fifth consecutive decline in annual sales. For the year, the Toyota brand fell 12 percent, while Lexus dropped 7.7 percent.

Brands (Dec.): Toyota up 23%; Lexus up 8.2%.

Notable nameplates (Dec.): Toyota Camry up 15%, Corolla up 7%, RAV4 up 14%, Highlander up 31%, Tacoma up 40%, Tundra up 39%; Lexus ES up 1.5%, RX up 3.2%, NX up 3.8%.

Incentives: $2,822 per vehicle in the fourth quarter, up 7.5% from a year earlier, TrueCar says.

Average transaction price: $35,713 in the fourth quarter, up 5.7% from a year earlier, according to TrueCar.

Quote: “We picked up a half-point of market share in 2020,” said Jack Hollis, senior vice president of automotive operations for Toyota Motor North America. “Clearly, we would have been slightly up in 2020, especially with how strong we were in the fourth quarter, were it not for COVID.”

Did you know? Toyota and Lexus hybrid sales in 2020 topped 337,000 vehicles, up 23 percent over 2019, including a record 50,649 hybrid sales in December alone.

Katherine E. Ackerman

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