Toyo­ta dou­bles down on slum­ping La­tin Ame­ri­ca mar­kets

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

BRAZIL - Toyo­ta Mo­tor Corp is gea­ring up for Brazil’s bat­te­red au­to mar­ket to re­turn to growth in 2017, af­ter a four-year cri­sis hal­ved over­all ve­hi­cle sa­les, the au­to­ma­ker’s top exe­cu­ti­ve in La­tin Ame­ri­ca said. Yet Ste­ve St. An­ge­lo - who has tri­pled Toyo­ta’s mar­ket sha­re in Brazil du­ring the cri­sis - says he is los­ing sleep over one sce­na­rio: what if the mar­ket co­mes back too quick­ly? “If that vo­lu­me co­mes back, how do we keep our mar­ket sha­re?” said St. An­ge­lo, head of Toyo­ta in South and Cen­tral Ame­ri­ca and the Ca­rib­bean, in an in­ter­view ahead of this week’s Sao Pau­lo Au­to Show. “We don’t ha­ve the pro­duc­ti­on fa­ci­li­ties. Are the dea­lers pre­pa­red for that kind of vo­lu­me? The short ans­wer is: I wor­ry about it,” he ad­ded. “This is what keeps me up at night.” Toyo­ta sold ne­ar­ly 148,000 cars and light trucks in Brazil in the first ten months of 2016, up 1 per­cent from a year ear­lier, mo­ving to fifth pla­ce in the Brazil mar­ket from eighth just a few ye­ars ago. St. An­ge­lo, who cre­dits me­ti­cu­lous cus­to­mer ser­vi­ce for kee­ping loy­al cus­to­mers du­ring the down­turn, has the en­via­ble pro­blem of con­tem­pla­ting a third shift at Toyo­ta’s plants in Brazil, whi­le ri­vals are using less than half of their ca­pa­ci­ty. Toyo­ta has avoi­ded the wi­despread lay­offs that cut 25,000 jobs from the Bra­zi­li­an au­to in­du­stry in two ye­ars. Across La­tin Ame­ri­ca, the Ja­pa­ne­se au­to­ma­ker has be­co­me an out­lier un­der St. An­ge­lo, dou­bling down whi­le other car­ma­kers pul­led back amid eco­no­mic cri­ses in Brazil, Ar­gen­ti­na and even Ve­ne­zu­e­la. So far, the stra­te­gy has won a lar­ger sli­ce of a shrin­king pie. Toyo­ta fo­re­casts gro­wing sa­les in co­re mar­kets of North Ame­ri­ca, Asia and Eu­ro­pe, but an ag­gre­ga­te drop in mar­kets such as La­tin Ame­ri­ca, Afri­ca and the Midd­le East, rai­sing ques­ti­ons about re­turn on in­vest­ments the­re. (reu­ters)

Toyo­ta sold ne­ar­ly 148,000 cars and light trucks in Brazil in the first ten months of 2016. (Pho­to: reu­ters)

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