Toyota aims to boost European sales by 30%

Europe

AMSTERDAM — Toyota has bold growth plans in Europe, fueled by new models including a small SUV.

The automaker aims to increase sales of its Toyota and Lexus brands by 30 percent to 1.4 million by 2025 in its European region, which includes Russia and Turkey.

Last year, sales of the Toyota and Lexus cars were 1.09 million, giving the group a market share of 5.3 percent.  

The company forecasts its share will grow to 6.5 percent as part of its five-year plan called “ACE2000.”  

The plan includes the launch of 40 new or updated electrified vehicles, including plug-in hybrids and full-electric vehicles, Toyota says.

Much of the growth will be from sales of the new small SUV that will debut at the Geneva auto show in March. Sales will start 12 months later.

The SUV will be positioned below the C-HR and will join a booming segment, competing against models such as the Volkswagen T-Cross, Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur.

The vehicle will be built alongside the new-generation Yaris small hatchback at Toyota’s plant in Valenciennes, France. 

It will share its hybrid drivetrain with the Yaris.  Toyota did not say whether the SUV will also offer internal combustion engines.

“The fact that that its locally built indicates that it will be high volume,” said Toyota Europe’s sales and marketing boss, Matt Harrison.

The automaker expects to sell more than 100,000 units of the SUV a year, Harrison told Automotive News Europe on the sidelines of a Toyota press event here. 

Half of Toyota’s project growth in Europe will come from sales of the small SUV, the new RAV4 plug-in hybrid and the recently announced Proace City compact van, Harrison said. The Proace is built by PSA Group and is similar to the Peugeot Partner and Opel Combo.  
 
Profits first

Toyota is not chasing a bigger market share at the expense of profits, according to its European chief, Johan van Zyl.
The automaker is not a “volume chaser,”van Zyl told Automotive News Europe in an interview in November. 

A higher market share will “optimize the business model to make sure that we have full utilization of resource capacities” and increased economies of scale, he said.

Toyota expects its 2019 profit in Europe to be higher than its earnings nearly 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in the region in 2018, van Zyl said.

The European division had a profit margin of 4.2 percent in the first half of 2019.

Sales of Toyota and Lexus vehicles increased sales 4.8 percent to 797,397 last year in the EU and EFTA for a market share of 5.0 percent, according to data from industry association ACEA.

In Russia, Toyota and Lexus’s combined sales fell 5.1 percent to 125,992 for a 7.2 percent market share.

Toyota predicts that 70 percent of its European sales will be hybrid cars by 2025, up from 52 percent now. Plug-in hybrids will account for 10 percent, and zero-emission vehicles including battery-powered and fuel cell cars for another 10 percent, the automaker predicts. 

Toyota plans to offer pure combustion engine vehicles only in sports cars, off-road vehicles and commercial vehicles.

The plug-in hybrid version of the RAV4 SUV will launch in the second half with an electric-only range of 65 km (40 miles) and a CO2 emissions figure of 29 grams per km as measured on the WLTP cycle, Toyota said. 

The automaker says it will launch at least one plug-in hybrid car a year between now and 2025.
 
Lexus EV boost
 
Lexus is launching the UX 300e electric SUV, the group’s first full-electric car in selected markets in Europe this year.
The compact SUV has a target range of 300 km (186 miles) in the WLTP cycle. 

The UX with an internal combustion engine helped Lexus to achieve as sales record in Europe last year. The brand’s sales increased 14 percent to 87,206 vehicles in EU and EFTA, according to figures from Lexus.

Harrison said he expected Lexus sales to grow by another 40,000 to 50,000 cars a year by 2025 and help Toyota achieve its 1.4 million target.

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