Even mighty Toyota isn't immune to the downturn in sales in the United States due to the horrible current economic climate and credit crisis. Revenue is down nearly 70 percent for the Japanese giant, a situation that it is anything but familiar with. So, Toyota has created a team headed by its President Katsuaki Watanabe that will focus on ways to spend less money. Expect the automaker to extend incentives to more of its fuel efficient models, not just full-size pickup trucks and SUVs, and move quickly to bring more fuel-saving models to market as quickly as possible, especially new hybrids.
If Toyota plans to spend less money overall but more on hybrid development, expect to see its larger vehicles be affected the most by the budget cuts. Models that aren't segment leaders when it comes to fuel efficiency are likely to wait a bit longer for model refreshes as more hybrids are rolled out instead. It should be noted that this is exactly the strategy that General Motors is taking, except that GM is extremely close to running completely out of money while Toyota has got plenty in reserve. GM's continued life depends on its fuel-savers while Toyota's motive is continued profitability, making it painfully obvious that The General should have gotten a much earlier start on its hybrids and EVs.