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Industry will remain strong: Esmond

November 23, 2010
The 16.8 million new vehicles sold in the United States in 2002 did represent a decline from the prior year's total. But Donald Esmond said any doomsayers fail to mention that the top four sales years ever occurred in the past five years. "There's plenty of business out there, but every dealer will have to work harder and smarter to get it," Esmond, senior vice president and general manager of Toyota Division, told a gathering of Illinois and Missouri dealers in late March. "Customers want good products and they're continuing to buy them in numbers unprecedented a few years ago," he said. Sales remain strong even in a wartime economy, he added, because customers see improved value in today's vehicles. Esmond said successful dealers will adapt to shifting demographics. He said disposable income is expected to grow, leaving more money for car purchases; the number of affluent households will increase, helping sales of upscale vehicles; and the Generation Y population in seven years will outstrip Baby Boomers. Esmond pointed to Toyota's launch of Scion to capture the attention of the younger generation's influential trend-setters. "In the auto industry," Esmond said, "the road to prosperity is paved with good relations. As long as we are responsive to our customers, our business will grow."