Toyota CEO Says Momentum Driving Industry

Toyota CEO Says Momentum Driving Industry

"The prognosis for both Toyota and the industry is very positive in 2014," said Jim Lentz, CEO of the North America region for Toyota.

The automotive industry's "bigmo" is what gives Jim Lentz confidence for 2014.

Lentz, CEO of the North America region for Toyota (IW 1000/8), said the industry's "bigmo" – or big momentum – is what will propel the industry toward a strong year.

"The prognosis for both Toyota and the industry is very positive in 2014," said Lentz in a speech during the Society of Automotive Analysts' Automotive Outlook Conference. "The auto industry is poised to take advantage of the improving economy and achieve yet another growth year."

Toyota, he said, has a lot of momentum. The No. 1 automaker in the U.S. will introduce eight new or updated products this year and expects 2014 sales to increase to 2.3 million vehicles. That's 100,000 more sales.

That growth will be driven by the company's – and the industry's – dedication to alternative fuel vehicles.

"Consumers want environmentally advanced vehicles," Lentz said during the event, which was held at the Cobo Center in Detroit in advance of the North American International Auto Show.  

Toyota – and its Lexus division – now offers 12 hybrids, with plans to introduce another 15 new or improved models by 2015. And the company is working on fuel cell technology.

Automakers, he said, can't yet predict which advanced fuel technology consumers will embrace and thus need to invest in a number of technologies.

"To be successful in the future, we'll have to continue to come together as an industry," he said. "It won't be easy but I'm confident if we all work together our industry will continue to thrive and enjoy a very, very bright future."

Check out IndustryWeek's complete coverage of NAIAS.

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