Toyota cautiously increasing truck production

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Toyota truck production for 2016 is cautiously on the rise.Toyota truck production for 2016 is cautiously on the rise.

Toyota Motor Corp. reports that it plans to cautiously increase truck production this year, citing lessons learned seven years ago during the Great Recession.

With record 2015 light-truck sales being reported from OEMs throughout the U.S., Toyota hopes to continue capturing more of the truck segment in 2016 by producing additional pickups, SUVs and crossovers.

Toyota’s light-truck sales in December account for 53 percent of the company’s overall sales, including its Lexus and Scion brands. That was an uptick of 3 percent from its 2015 50-50 truck-car sales ratio, according to Automotive News.

Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz said that currently Toyota’s light-truck production has increased to 54 percent of its overall manufactured vehicles.

“We are moving production as rapidly as we can,” Lentz says. “We’re making a bunch of small adjustments that allow us to pick up 10,000 here, 20,000 there, 30,000 there.”

Lentz said lessons learned during the Great Recession guide the company and will keep it from following other OEMs that are undergoing greater increases this year in light-truck production.

“In our rearview mirror is the deep recession to 10 million units,” Lentz cautions. “I can’t tell you how long gas prices will stay low. All it takes again is something getting sunk in the Straits of Hormuz, and the price of gas changes overnight. I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket.”