SAN FRANCISCO Toyota Motor Corp. on Monday warned that its full-year sales results are on pace to fall short of previous targets as a brutal industry slump in the key U.S. market has more than offset gains around the world.
Toyota, tracking to unseat rival General Motors Corp. as the world's biggest automaker by year end, is now projecting sales of 9.5 million cars and trucks, down from a prior forecast of 9.85 million.
The Japanese car giant is suffering from the same consumer shift away from bigger vehicles that has plagued U.S. manufacturers as record-high gas prices and the persistent housing woes continue to sap demand, especially for trucks and SUVs.
Toyota reported a 21.4 percent drop in June U.S. sales to 193,234 cars and trucks. Passenger cars slid 9.4 percent to 131,966 units while sales of trucks slumped 38.8 percent to 61,268 vehicles.
Despite the recent declines, Toyota managed to topple GM in the first half of the year, with sales of more than 4.8 million cars and trucks, compared with 4.54 million vehicles for the Detroit automaker.
In an effort to better align capacity with demand, Toyota halted production of the Tundra pickup and the Sequoia sport utility beginning Aug. 8 and plans to start it back up in November. The Tundra, currently being built in Indiana and Texas, will be built only in its San Antonio plant starting in the spring of 2009.
The company also said earlier this month that it plans to build its popular Prius hybrid car on U.S. soil in late 2010.
U.S.-listed shares of Toyota dipped 3.5 percent to close at $88.54 and have lost more than a quarter of their value in the past year.