Toyota’s Year Ends on a Soft Note

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This past year was undoubtedly one of great improvement for automakers across the globe, and Toyota’s (NYSE:TM) 2013 was no exception. It’s Corolla and Camry sedans remained among the top ten best selling vehicles in the U.S., and a slew of redesigned models have helped the manufacturer hold onto its lead as the largest automaker by volume. However, Toyota’s December numbers fell a bit short of analyst estimates, judging by the figures that the company released on Friday.

Unit sales declined 1.7 percent over December of 2012 on a raw-volume basis, which was left unadjusted for 25 selling days in December 2013, versus 26 selling days in 2012, as analysts were expecting a gain of 3.6 percent. Despite the discrepancy, Toyota’s U.S. shares are trading around flat during midday Friday trading, as sales gained 2.2 percent on a daily selling rate level. “With the same number of selling days in 2013 and 2012, [Toyota] reported annual sales of 2,236,042 vehicles, up 7.4 percent versus last year on both a DSR and raw-volume basis,” the company said in its statement.

“The auto industry was a consistent bright spot in the economic recovery throughout 2013,” said Bill Fay in the statement, who is the Toyota division group vice president and general manager.  “We expect the economy will continue to gain strength in 2014, with car sales rising to pre-recession levels.”

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