Toyota achieved a sixth consecutive record year for sales in Europe in 2002, despite tough market conditions and severe competition. With 755,633 vehicles delivered - 21,156 Lexus and 734,477 Toyota - the world's third largest car manufacturer saw sales rise by 13.5% over the previous year, in a total market down by around 3%. This resulted in a market share of 4.4.%. For 2003, Toyota has set the challenging target of selling 790,000 Toyota and Lexus vehicles in Europe, or some 4.5% over 2002, in a total market that is expected to remain at the same level at best. In 2002, Toyota produced 395,879 cars, 259,281 engines and 24,777 transmissions at its plants in the U.K., France, Turkey and Poland.
The Toyota Yaris sold an all-time record number of units (212,618) in 2002, up 1% over 2001. Toyota's widely-acclaimed RAV4 also achieved record sales, with 95,546 units sold - an impressive 51% increase over 2001. The RAV4 now accounts for 28% of all compact off-roader sales in Europe, and is the continent's best-selling Sport Utility Vehicle. And in 2002, sales of the Toyota Corolla (including the Corolla Verso) surpassed the 200,000-unit mark for the first time, reaching 200,193 units. Toyota is now the fastest-growing volume car brand in Europe.
Italy became Toyota's largest European market in 2002, with 122,025 units sold, or 22% more than 2001, followed by the U.K. (121,376), Germany (100,098) and France (68,018). The highest sales growth for Toyota was achieved in Poland, which enjoyed a 55% increase in sales to 23,738 units, compared to 2001. Toyota was the market leader in Finland, Norway, Greece, Ireland and Iceland in 2002.
Toyota's reputation for superior quality was confirmed in 2002, when Toyota and Lexus cars won the top spot in six out of seven car segments in the first customer satisfaction survey of Germany's car owners by market research firm J.D. Power. Germany's drivers also awarded Toyota the top satisfaction rating in the survey.
"A key element toward reaching Toyota's challenging sales target of 790,000 units in 2003 will be the all-new Toyota Avensis, on sale early this year, supported by our Toyota Yaris and Toyota Corolla core models," said Dr. Takis Athanasopoulos, Chief Operating Officer of Toyota Motor Marketing Europe (TMME).
"We will also continue to expand and develop our environmental technologies, such as the hybrid system in our Prius model and the revolutionary Toyota D-CAT system which helps 'clean up' diesel emissions, in order to aggressively pursue the goal of sustainable development. Thanks to a complete and ever-improving product line-up, Toyota believes it can continue to successfully satisfy the tastes of Europe's diverse and demanding customers," Dr. Athanasopoulos concluded.