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The Australian arm of Toyota defied global trends to establish an all-time industry sales record in 2008.

Toyota Australia delivered 238,983 vehicles - 2,336 more than its previous record set in the boom sales year of 2007.

It finished the year 108,645 vehicles ahead of its nearest rival - the first time the gap had exceeded 100,000.

The result affirms customer acceptance of the Toyota brand and its vehicles.

Toyota senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner said the company and its vehicles had become increasingly relevant in Australia.

He said the sales results reflected the trust placed in them by consumers.

"It is not possible to overstate the importance of a large-volume car maker demonstrating its commitment to the market," Mr Buttner said.

"Toyota's strong investment in local manufacturing - and its commitment to its sales network and their customers - provides a level of confidence to everyone in the supply chain.

"In the past few months, the fact that our finance arm, Toyota Financial Services, is Triple-A rated, has provided substantial assurance."

Mr Buttner said the true test in 2008 came in the strength of demand for Toyota vehicles in the second half of the year, when the economy was coming off the boil.

"Monthly average sales for Toyota in the second half were in excess of 18,590 compared with 19,900 for the year, indicating high levels of customer support."

Mr Buttner said Toyota was approaching 2009 with enthusiasm and cautious optimism.

Toyota would launch several new models which would stimulate market demand, and was in preparation for its 2010 launch of Australia's first locally manufactured hybrid car, the Camry.

In 2008 Toyota led nine of the 12 VFACTS vehicle sales categories in which it participated.

It led passenger-car, SUV and light-commercial vehicle categories.

Both its Corolla and HiLux models had been outright monthly market leaders for a cumulative four months.

"The market is by no means in universal decline," Mr Buttner said.

"Toyota's medium and large SUVs, and our HiAce bus and vans and HiLux 4x4, have all recorded substantial gains in demand over the previous sales year.

"Toyota Corolla has proven its appeal by ending the year as Australia's second most in-demand vehicle, achieving an all-time record."

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Toyota has reacted swiftly to the global financial downturn to ensure it is well placed to service its customers, according to Toyota Australia president and chief executive officer Max Yasuda.

Prompt attention to stock levels meant Toyota Australia would enter 2009 secure that it can meet expected customer needs.

Toyota Australia's manufacturing plant was geared to maintain appropriate levels of supply to its domestic and export customers.

In 2008 Toyota established an all-time record export delivery of 101,563 Australian-made Camry and Aurion.

It exceeded the previous record by more than 3.9 per cent.

Mr Yasuda said Toyota Australia had swiftly joined its parent company to implement measures aimed at maintaining the integrity of the Toyota brand.

Maintaining brand integrity had enabled the company to make necessary adjustments, including a general price increase of 2.4 per cent on 1 January, with minimum impact.

"The strength of the brand, and its vehicles, can withstand necessary corrections," Mr Yasuda said.

"Our customers can buy from us secure in the knowledge that service will be maintained and retained values will be strong."

Mr Yasuda said that Toyota was well positioned to deal with the global economic downturn.

Toyota president Katsuaki Watanabe had established an Emergency Profit Improvement Committee (EPIC) to ensure the stability of the company throughout the economic downturn.

"Well before the global economy turned, Mr Watanabe reasserted the importance of building a solid foundation for sustainable growth," Mr Yasuda said.

"That direction is now serving the company and its customers well."

"Profit improvement is a customer-first initiative, directed at ensuring every person and company receives appropriate levels of consideration.

"Our goal through this difficult time is to further increase our focus on customer-first."

Mr Yasuda said Toyota Australia was well on track to manufacture Australia's first local hybrid - the Toyota Camry hybrid - in 2010.

The strong performance of locally manufactured Camry and Aurion and the production capability of the Australian plant ensured effective integration of the hybrid model.

Domestic demand for Camry and Aurion combined had finished the year 5,743 down on 2007 at 42,629 - but that had been made up by export fulfilment.

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Buyer confidence in the Toyota brand had enabled the company to buck the market trend by increasing new-vehicle sales and market share in 2008, the company said today.

Senior executive director sales and marketing, David Buttner, said Toyota lifted its new-vehicle sales 1.0 per cent, while the overall market retreated by 3.6 per cent, largely due to the deteriorating economy.

Mr Buttner said Toyota's improved market share - up from 22.5 per cent in 2007 to 23.6 per cent in 2008 - was particularly significant.

"Toyota is a brand people trust, and that is particularly important in volatile and uncertain times," Mr Buttner said.

"Buying a Toyota ensures value for money, strong residuals and the core attributes of quality, durability and reliability," he said.

Toyota and its dealers were uniquely placed to help their customers capitalise on the unusual market conditions.

"We have the stock, the dealers, the facilities and the access to credit to enable Australian motorists to purchase a new or used Toyota vehicle with certainty and confidence from an authorised Toyota dealer," he said.

Almost 85 per cent of Toyota dealers sourced credit through Toyota Finance, whose debt is rated Triple A by Standard & Poor's and Moody's.

"Toyota dealers are therefore able to continue providing finance solutions to Toyota buyers."

Mr Buttner said Toyota was strongly committed to its customers and to the Australian market through a viable dealer network.

"Toyota dealers have confirmed they will continue to invest in new or expanded facilities.

"They have taken advantage of a long period of market growth by continuing to reinvest in their businesses.

"As a result, our network is in excellent shape to trade through the current economic conditions - and to come out stronger at the end.

"It is now more solid and professionally managed than at any time in the past.

"Toyota has now been in Australia for 50 years - and we will be here for the long run," Mr Buttner said.


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* Toyota has been Australian market leader 12 times since 1991. It has been market leader for the past six years.

* Toyota has delivered for 2008:
- an all-time sales record of 238,983 - 2,336 up on 2007
- an all-time market share record of 23.6 per cent compared with 22.5 per cent in 2007.

* Toyota is Number One in sales in all states and territories.

* Five of the top-10 sellers are Toyotas - Corolla, HiLux, Yaris, Camry and Aurion.

* The only company to surpass 200,000 sales in Australia is Toyota. In 2008 it sold 238,983. It has achieved its 200,000-plus feat for the past five years.

* Toyota's sales total 238,983 is more than the combined total of its two nearest rivals, GM (130,338) and Ford (104,715).

* Toyota was market leader every month in 2008.

* Yaris (and its predecessor) have led the light car segment for six years. Corolla has led the small car segment for nine years. Camry has topped the medium segment for 15 consecutive years.

* V6 Aurion increased its share of the large car market to 17.1 per cent in 2008.

* Sales of Toyota SUVs have risen by 18.1 per cent and Toyota leads the SUV market on 27 per cent share.

* Toyota Prado is the best-selling SUV. Kluger demand is a record.

* Toyota exports reached 101,563 in 2008 - an all-time record for Australia.


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Record demand for Toyota's universal small car, Corolla, was instrumental in securing the company its third successive year of leadership in the 2008 passenger-vehicle market.

Toyota Corolla beat its all-time record established in 2007 by 109 vehicles to finish the year with 47,901 sales.

Toyota's Yaris, Corolla and locally manufactured Camry each claimed category victories to help Toyota to a cumulative 123,955 passenger vehicle sales - 33,876 ahead of its nearest rival.

It was the broadest margin yet achieved by Toyota.

Corolla topped the sales charts in January and June and was the country's top-selling motor vehicle until the beginning of the third quarter.

"Corolla is the car for both good times and hard times," Toyota's senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner said.

"In good times it is the car so many people want to have.

"In hard times it's the car even more people have to have."

Toyota claimed more than 20 per cent of the passenger vehicle market for the second successive year with 20.8 per cent.

Toyota Yaris dominated the light car market with 26,097 deliveries - 51.3 per cent ahead of its nearest rival.

Toyota Camry accounted for 23,067 deliveries and claimed more than one third of all sales in the medium category (under $60,000).

Toyota Aurion was third in the sales-depleted large car segment, with a volume reduction less than the segment leader.

Aurion accounted for 17.1 per cent of the segment with 19,562 deliveries, increasing its market share from 16.5 per cent (under $70,000).

"Demand in the light and small car segment has been remarkably constant, and competitive activity has been exceptionally fierce," Mr Buttner said.


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Australians last year bought more than 50,000 Toyota SUVs for the first time as demand for the brand accelerated by more than 18 per cent.

The company delivered 52,502 in total of its RAV4, LandCruiser 200 Series, LandCruiser Prado and Kluger.

Toyota's result contributed to the SUV market remaining essentially static with a drop of just 1.9 per cent on its 2007 record.

LandCruiser Prado took over the mantle of Australia's top-selling SUV, with 14,725 deliveries.

Demand for the new LandCruiser 200 Series drove its sales up by more than 24.2 per cent to 10,231.

And customer acceptance of Toyota Kluger in two-wheel and all-wheel drive pushed its sales up to 13,424 - a leap of 70.2 per cent.

Toyota claimed 18.1 per cent of the total SUV market of 194,458.

"The SUV market is a phenomenon," Toyota senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner said.

"SUVs have staked a claim as the new all-purpose family vehicle.

"For Toyota it is particularly relevant that we are able to offer a choice of soft and hard-roaders in the medium SUV segment.

"Their reputation is interchangeable, and customers buy on their opinion of brand competence."

Kluger reclaimed a deficit of almost 10,000 sales in 2007 to finish the year 542 ahead of its nearest direct rival.

"The introduction of a two-wheel-drive Kluger has significantly increased its market appeal," Mr Buttner said.

"Kluger has become Toyota's all-purpose station wagon - and even in a tough market it has immense application."

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Light-commercial vehicle market leader Toyota finished 2008 with record sales and almost double the growth of the segment.

The increase in sales of Toyota's vehicles accounted for more than half of the segment growth.

Toyota achieved more than 62,000 light-commercial vehicle sales in 2008 - an all-time record, eclipsing the previous best of 57,553.

Its HiAce, HiLux and LandCruiser 70 Series accounted for more than one third of the entire segment.

Actual combined sales figures were 62,091 for a 33.6 per cent share.

HiAce van accounted for 39.1 per cent of the van market with 9,493 deliveries - a growth of 1,821 and 23.7 per cent over 2007.

HiLux pickup was Australia's leading 4x2 utility with 17,330 sales - 3,881 ahead of its nearest locally-made utility rival.

HiLux 4x4 demand increased by 9.6 per cent to an all-time record of 25,626 sales.

Demand for LandCruiser 70 Series was up 14.2 per cent to 6,432 sales.

"Demand for Toyota light commercial vehicles underlined the business confidence which existed right to the end of the year," Toyota senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner said.

"Even as the economic decline began to take hold, business confidence remained robust.

"It was only in the last two months that a marked reduction in orders began to occur.

"In our view the most likely outcome is that a restoration of business demand will occur after the New Year holiday period.

"Our dealerships are grass roots economic indicators and they point to a determination among the business sector to continue to invest."


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Toyota Australia's petrol-electric Prius posted the strongest unit sales growth of any hybrid vehicle on the local market last year.

Prius, powered by Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive technology, achieved a record of 3,413 deliveries - almost 7.5 per cent higher than the previous year.

The Prius total represented more than two-thirds of the 5,042 hybrid vehicles retailed in Australia last year.

It was four times more popular with Australian buyers than its nearest rival, which offers a less sophisticated or "mild" hybrid system.

Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing, David Buttner, said Prius supply was likely to be tight in the first half of 2009.

"A new-generation Prius will be unveiled next week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit before going on sale in Australia during the third quarter of 2009," Mr Buttner said.

"New Prius will feature a substantially revised Hybrid Synergy Drive system and will deliver better fuel economy, improved performance and advanced new features."

Local Prius registrations have increased every year since the first model was introduced in late 2001.

The 10,000th local Prius was sold during 2008, and total sales to year's end were 11,710.

Globally, more than 1.2 million Prius hybrids have been sold, including almost 700,000 in the United States and more than 350,000 in Japan.

The one-millionth Prius was sold during April 2008.

Current-generation Prius uses just 4.4 litres of regular unleaded fuel to travel 100km*, based on the official combined cycle.

It emits less carbon dioxide than any other vehicle on the Australian market - just 106g/km.

Prius sales - Australia





























*Fuel consumption will vary depending on driving conditions/style, vehicle conditions and options/accessories. Source of fuel consumption data: ADR 81/01 combined cycle.


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2008 Toyota Range - Toyota Australia establishes an industry sales record.
2008 Toyota best sellers - Toyota has five of the country's 10 best-selling vehicles. (from front) Aurion, Camry, Yaris, Corolla and HiLux.
Toyota Aurion Presara -Toyota's V6 Aurion increased its share of the large-car market in 2008.
Camry Ateva - Toyota's Camry led the medium-car segment for the 15th consecutive year in 2008. It was also Australia's biggest automotive export earner.
Toyota will start producing the hybrid Camry in Australia from early 2010. US specification vehicle pictured.
Toyota Corolla has led the small-car segment for 9 years. Levin SX hatch pictured
Toyota Corolla has led the small-car segment for 9 years. Levin SX hatch pictured
Toyota Yaris (and its predecessor) has led the light-car segment for 6 years. YRX hatch pictured.
Toyota Yaris (and its predecessor) has led the light-car segment for 6 years. YRX hatch (front) and sedan pictured.
Toyota's LandCruiser Prado was Australia's best selling SUV in 2008. VX turbo-diesel pictured.
Toyota HiLux was Australia's best selling vehicle twice in 2008 - in April and October. SR5 4X4 dual-cab turbo-diesel pictured.
Toyota Prius powered by Hybrid Synergy Drive achieved record sales in 2008.
David Buttner, senior executive director sales and marketing, Toyota Australia.
Max Yasuda, President and Chief Executive Officer, Toyota Australia