Looks to the Future With Confidence
- Record sales of 541,000 units achieved in 1998, up 15% over the prior year
- Toyota becomes the No 1 Japanese car brand in Europe
- Toyota breaks through the 3% market share threshold
BRUSSELS, January 20, 1999 – Toyota Motor Europe, the European arm of Toyota Motor Corporation, the world’s third largest car manufacturer, has announced its full-year 1998 sales results for the European region.
1998 was a record year for the Company’s European operations. Provisional figures show that overall sales passed the half-million mark for the first time with 541,000 vehicle sales for a market share of 3 percent. This achievement represents an increase of 15 percent over the Company’s 1997 peformance and, as a result, Toyota became the number one selling Japanese car brand in Europe.
Commenting on the Company’s 1998 sales results, Mr Juan Jose Diaz Ruiz, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing, Toyota Motor Europe said: “These excellent results clearly demonstrate the progress we are making to become a major player in Europe. They were achieved both through improved sales performance from the Company’s core products and through improved results in many key European markets.”
Individual model highlights included an increase in Corolla sales to 178,150 units, up 27 percent over the prior year, thanks to product improvements made specifically for European customers last year. Sales of the all new Avensis, launched in January 1998, were 135,300 units, also up 26 percent versus the prior year’s Carina sales performance.
Lexus sales for 1998 continued on an impressive upward trend with combined overall volumes for the GS300 and LS400 models totalling 7,400 units – an increase of 115% versus 1997.
Many notable sales successes were also recorded in individual European markets. Highlights included market leadership in four markets – Ireland, Finland, Greece, and Iceland with market shares ranging from 12.6% to 16.2%. Toyota also set new sales records in seven markets — Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Ireland and Iceland.
Toyota’s European production output also reached record levels with 172,000 cars (157,000 Avensis / 15,000 Corollas) produced at the Company’s Burnaston, UK, manufacturing plant, and 108,000 engines produced at the Company’s Deeside, UK, engine plant. Consistent with Toyota’s policy to build an increasing proportion of its core products in Europe, the Company intends to increase its local European production still further to around 200,000 cars and 110,000 engines in 1999. And with the addition of the Company’s new assembly plant in Valenciennes, Northern France, due to produce the Yaris from 2001, a further 150,000 units will be added with a corresponding engine capacity increase at Deeside.
Toyota Motor Corporation also announces its world-wide 1998 sales figures today. Overall the Company recorded very successful worldwide results in spite of extremely difficult conditions in Japan and other Asian markets. World-wide sales totalled 4.64 million units with sales records being set in Europe and in North America.
Mr Diaz Ruiz summarised the Company’s 1998 performance by saying: “1998 was an outstanding year for Toyota Motor Europe. As well as contributing positively to Toyota’s successful overall world-wide sales performance, we beat our regional sales objectives for Europe, and achieved many notable successes with our individual models and in many individual markets.
“I believe Toyota Motor Europe has established a firm foundation for future growth. With a further strengthening of our model line-up this year with our new small car the Yaris and our new Lexus IS200 premium sports sedan, and with further development of our sales and marketing and production activities, we are confident that we will continue through 1999 and beyond the significant momentum that we have begun.”