Despite what it called “a declining European market”, Toyota Motor Europe (TME) on Thursday (10 January, 2013) announced a 2% year on year sales increase for 2012 to 837,969 vehicles.

The 792,359 Toyota and 45,610 Lexus vehicles took a market share estimated at 4.5%, up 0.3% from 2011.

“Thanks to our new product launches in 2012, the good results of the Yaris, and of our hybrid vehicles line up, we were able to continue growing despite the severe market conditions affecting Europe,” said TME president and CEO Didier Leroy. “2013 will remain extremely challenging for the industry in Europe, but we are confident that both Toyota and Lexus will grow further for the third consecutive year on the European continent.

“More importantly, this will be done in a sustainable and profitable way.”

Toyota expects 2013 sales to increase further thanks to new C segment products – the UK-built Auris hatchback, including hybrid and wagon versions, plus the Turkish-built redesigned Verso seven seat MPV and the new, fourth generation RAV 4 sourced from Japan.

In western Europe, the UK had a strong year with Toyota and Lexus sales of 101,822 units, up 12%. In France, sales remained stable in a market down 13%, leading to share growth of 0.4% to an estimated 3.3%.

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In the Nordic region, sales in Denmark rose 8% with sales of 17,966 units in 2012. The Baltic saw sales of 5,884 units, up 20%.

In central and eastern Europe, despite signs of a slowdown in the last quarter, TME posted healthy gains in Russia and Ukraine with 27% (169,282 units) and 13% (15,676 units) sales increases over 2011 respectively. In Kazakhstan, Toyota and Lexus enjoyed record sales with 9,223 units.

Sales of Lexus vehicles increased 4.5% versus 2011, helped by continued demand for the entry level CT 200h hatchback and successful launches of the redesigned GS, ES (sold only in the east) and updated RX crossover line (sold only as a hybrid in some markets).

Russia continued to be a strong Lexus market with sales reaching 15,655 units, up 14% from 2011, while the Netherlands posted an exceptional sales increase of 43% due to the CT 200h apparently suiting buyers in a country with narrow roads and many traffic and parking restrictions favouring bicycles.

“While we are pleased to see the Lexus brand grow further in Europe, especially in central and eastern Europe, we also expect Lexus to perform well in 2013 in the west, with the launch of the highly anticipated new IS, available for the first time in a hybrid variant,” added Leroy.

Hybrid highlights

Last year was a milestone for sales of full hybrid vehicles in Europe, TME said. Cumulative sales of Toyota and Lexus hybrids in the region topped 500,000 units last December and 2012 was the first year the two brands sold more than 100,000 units in a calendar year.

Hybrid vehicles accounted for over 13% of TME sales in 2012 with full year volume of 109,478 units – 83,699 Toyota and 25,779 Lexus. In the Netherlands, hybrids accounted for about 45% of the sales mix.

In 2012, TME launched six new or updated full hybrids including its first plug-in, a new Prius variant. Hybrids now account for a third of Yaris and Auris sales.

At Lexus, full hybrids accounted for 90% of western Europe sales last year.

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