America vs Toyota, 2019
How well did American automakers do against Japan’s best in 2019?
First, let’s look at totals. Toyota reported 2,383,348 sales, entirely from two (Toyota and Lexus) brands. The vast majority of sales were from just five cars and trucks:
- RAV4 (448,071)
- Camry (336,978)
- Corolla (304,850)
- Tacoma (248,801)
- Highlander (239,438)
Toyota did poorly in the one area American companies all did well, which is full-size trucks, where their Tundra sold just 111,673. Even that number seems awfully high given the age of the truck and it’s completely uncompetitive powertrain and interior. Nissan, incidentally, didn’t even do that well, despite a Cummins diesel option: buyers only took 31,514 Titans. Compare that with 896,526 F-series pickups, 809,923 Chevrolet and GMC pickups, and 633,694 Ram pickups.
Only one American company is still selling minivans, and it sold over 122,000 old-style Dodge Grand Caravans and nearly 100,000 new-style Chrysler Voyagers and Pacificas. Toyota scraped by with fewer than 74,000 Siennas.
Toyota did very, very well in luxury, though, compared with American automakers, selling 298,114 Lexuses (Lexi?), across 12 models. They had one over-100,000 model (the RX), and two over 50,000 (ES car and NX SUV). Cadillac could only muster 156,246 sales, across 11 models, none of which hit 50,000 sales (the XT5 came very close, though). Lincoln has a more sensible lineup, with 112,204 sales over 7 nameplates; the top seller for Lincoln was the Nautilus (MKX), with 31,711 sales. The Continental is barely moving at all.
Generally, Toyota also did well in traditional cars, though they did it by totally redesigning the Camry, Corolla, Yaris, and Avalon, and loading them all up to the gills with formerly optional features; even the base cars compare well to past luxury cars. Each of Toyota’s two traditional cars, the Corolla and Camry, sold over 300,000 copies. The Avalon didn’t do quite as well, with less separating it from the Camry, but the best selling car the Americans could supply was the Fusion, with 166,045 sales, and then the Malibu, with over 140,000 sales; add them up and you don’t quite reach the Camry or Corolla.
The American automakers made up for their traditional car deficit with crossovers and pickups, mainly pickups. The F-series were 37% of Ford’s sales (including Lincoln), which seems a bit unhealthy. Full-size pickups were 28% of GM’s sales, and 29% of Fiat Chrysler’s sales, which seems more reasonable. Toyota is reasonably split across different groupings—sedans, crossovers, pickups, luxury; Ford is pretty highly focused on the F-series, Escape and Explorer crossovers, and the Fusion. Over at FCA, it’s almost all Jeep and Ram now.
Clark Westfield grew up fixing up and driving past-their-prime American cars, including various GM and Mopar V8s. He has ghostwritten auto news for the last few years, and lives in Farmingdale, New York.