The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

26 January 2004

Looming larger

When Toyota pulled ahead of DaimlerChrysler to become the world's third-largest automaker, there were rumblings in Detroit. There will no doubt be more of the same now that Toyota has passed Ford to take over the number-two slot.

For calendar year 2003, Toyota sold 6.78 million vehicles worldwide, a hair above Ford's 6.72 million — though the Ford total does not include approximately one million Mazdas. (Ford owns 33.4 percent of Mazda, enough to give it corporate control under Japanese law.)

Toyota is shooting for 15 percent of the world market, which would be sufficient to displace General Motors at the top; GM currently holds a 14.7-percent market share worldwide.

Posted at 11:55 AM to Driver's Seat

It's the trucks. I can remember when a Japanese-made truck was almost small enough to fit in the trunk of a luxury sedan. Toyota's making full-size trucks these days as beefy as any F-series.

It's gotta be the trucks.

Posted by: McGehee at 5:56 AM on 27 January 2004

Nissan's Titan (!) is even bigger, and they don't even go through the motions of offering it with a lowly V6 either.

And Japanese-made trucks simply don't exist in this market anymore; the 25-percent tariff has led some manufacturers (Toyota and Nissan) to build their trucks here, and others (Mazda and Isuzu) to sell rebadged domestic trucks.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:16 AM on 27 January 2004

Well, I used the term "Japanese-made" very loosely. "trucks made by companies with Japanese-sounding names" would be the most accurate, but a bit of a mouthful.

Posted by: McGehee at 7:33 AM on 27 January 2004