We'll be seeing more big cars from the Japanese auto makers.Jan. 8, 2005; Kae Inoue writing for Bloomberg reported that Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. are aiming to sell more pickup trucks, sport- utility vehicles and so-called crossovers in the U.S. this year to increase their shares of the world's largest vehicle market.
Toyota, the world's largest carmaker by market value, will unveil its Lexus RX330 sport-utility vehicle and at least four other models next week at Detroit's North American International Auto Show. Nissan will unveil a prototype of its Infiniti Kuraza sport-utility while Honda unveils its Ridgeline light truck, the carmakers said.
``Japan's automakers will probably keep expanding their U.S. market share because their new models won't disappoint,'' said Naohiko Sasaki, who helps manage the equivalent of $3.5 billion in Japanese equities as co-head of investments at Kokusai Asset Management Co. in Tokyo.
North America contributes up to 80 percent of operating profits every year for Japan's three largest carmakers. The larger vehicles they sell in the U.S. are roomier, come with more powerful engines and are designed to appeal to the preferences of U.S. drivers.
Japanese carmakers together grabbed a record 30.5 percent of the 2004 U.S. vehicle market, up 1.5 point from 2003, according to New Jersey-based Autodata.
They are gaining at the expense of General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler unit, whose combined market share fell 1.5 percentage point to 58.7 percent, Autodata said.
Source: Auto channel