Toyota's chief executive officer Akio Toyoda said its production is rebounding ahead of schedule after Japan's record earthquake, and a new Camry sedan and Prius line will soon arrive to aid sagging US sales.
The 2012 Camry and Camry Hybrid will have "technologically advanced features, a contemporary design inside and out, improved performance and refined ride and handling," Toyoda said in a private meeting with US dealers in Las Vegas. Toyota released excerpts of his comments.
The carmaker's recovery from the quake and tsunami has "far exceeded expectations" with production in Japan to return to normal after July and North American output rebounding by September, Toyoda said.
North American operations will also gain more autonomy, a change Toyoda called its "most important goal," according to the excerpt.
Article continues below
Efforts to hearten dealers after the March 11 disaster slashed supplies of Toyota cars and trucks come before the company releases June sales figures this week. Japan's largest auto-maker may report a 10.2 per cent drop in US sales from a year earlier, according to Truecar.com, the industry forecasting website.
Toyota's sales fell 33 per cent in May owing to tight supplies of Prius hybrids and luxury Lexus cars.
Toyota's US sales declined 0.6 per cent this year through May, while industrywide deliveries rose 14 per cent.
Along with a new Camry, the top-selling US car, Prius v wagons will be sold in the US as planned this year, followed in early 2012 by the Prius c, Toyoda said.
The subcompact may be the most fuel-efficient hybrid in the US, he said, without elaborating.
The company will also add a plug-in Prius hybrid next year, and all-electric RAV4 sport utility vehicle and iQ minicar, Toyoda said.
Toyota models will feature a new information system developed with Microsoft to appeal to US drivers, he said.