Toyota's bet that it could sell more vehicles in 2008 than in 2007 may not have been a wise one. Though Toyota's hybrid models and small cars are selling very well in the U.S., sales of pickups and SUVs have truly tanked, and Toyota had been counting on those sales just as much as its competitors. Of course, the giant automaker from Japan couldn't have known that far in advance just how high gasoline prices would go or the impact that it would have on auto sales and the economy in the United States in general. Booming markets like China have apparently not been able to make up for the shrinking pot in the States.

Even with the acknowledgment that meeting its target of selling more than the 2.62 million vehicles the company sold last year in the U.S. would be "difficult," Toyota's place in the automotive landscape is surely envied by the Detroit 3. After all, even with its sales revised downward, Toyota remains profitable, something which cannot be said of the U.S. automakers.

[Source: AP]