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We Hear: Toyota Will Increase SUV Production to Meet U.S. Demand

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 1/14/2015 Jason Udy

Toyota will increase production of its SUV models at its plants in Japan and Canada to meet growing U.S. demand, Automotive News reports. The Japanese automaker wants to get as much production out of its current factories as possible rather than build any new plants.

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“The freeze is still in place until the end of March of 2016,” Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota’s North American operations, told Automotive News during an interview at the Detroit auto show. “That hasn’t changed. All indications are that it will lift, but right now it has not lifted.”

2013 Toyota RAV4© Provided by MotorTrend 2013 Toyota RAV4 Sales of Toyota SUVs were at a record high last year, up 16 percent over the previous year. Overall sales of SUVs in the U.S. grew last year and the trend is expected to continue with current fuel prices on a downward trend. Increased SUV sales also helped Toyota deliver more vehicles globally than Volkswagen last year. Toyota sells five SUVs in the U.S. under the Toyota brand, while Volkswagen sells just two. The Tiguan and Touareg are also on the high end of the price spectrum, giving the Japanese automaker an edge. On top of this advantage, Toyota is also considering more small SUVs to add to its portfolio.

“We’re going to have to look at how the market under RAV4 develops,” Lentz said in the interview. “There’s no question that it’s going to. That’s going to be the next growth spurt.”

The new Lexus NX proved to be a strong seller for the automaker, outgunning German competitors from BMW and Mercedes-Benz in December. Toyota plans to increase production of the RAV4 and NX this year. The automaker sold 267,698 RAV4s in the U.S. last year and expects that number to climb.

2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Lexus NX 200t F Sport Source: Automotive News

2013 Toyota RAV4© Provided by MotorTrend 2013 Toyota RAV4
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