Toyota still expects to increase its market share in the U.S., but it will likely never return to the peak reached back in 2009, Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz said to reporters in Japan. His statement comes despite Toyota’s jump in overall profits and new vehicles in the pipeline.
Reuters reports that Toyota’s current market share in the U.S., its biggest market, is 14.2 percent (through May 2013), placing it in third place behind General Motors and Ford. Toyota’s peak of 17 percent occurred in 2009, which was enough to grab second place behind GM and pushing Ford to third.
“I think we had some tailwinds that were very, very unique, so I’m not sure if 17 percent is a realistic number,” Lentz said. Instead, he expects his company’s share to remain somewhere between 14-17 percent.
Reaching that peak number was bittersweet, however, as 2009 marked the beginning of massive recalls for Toyota including the controversial accelerator pedal and floor mat issue that dominated headlines.
Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda has since promised a renewed focus on quality.
“We have to win back the trust of our customers by adhering to the very values on which that trust was first built,” Toyoda said in early 2010. “Toyota will build the highest-quality, safest and most reliable automobiles in the world.”
The most recent 2013 J.D. Power Dependability Study appears to vindicate Toyoda’s goal, as Lexus was rated the most reliable and dependable nameplate in the U.S market; Toyota tied for third. Whether Toyota can maintain its 14-percent market share remains to be seen. The Camry, for example, faces tough competition in the midsize segment and the same goes for the compact Corolla.