• Bloomberg


Toyota Motor Corp. Chief Executive Officer Akio Toyoda says production is rebounding ahead of schedule from the March megaquake and new versions of the Camry sedan and Prius will soon arrive to aid sagging U.S. sales.

The 2012 Camry and Camry Hybrid will have “technologically advanced features, a contemporary design inside and out, improved performance and refined ride and handling,” Toyoda said in a private meeting with U.S. dealers Wednesday in Las Vegas.

Toyota released excerpts of his comments.

The carmaker’s recovery from the quake and tsunami has “far exceeded expectations,” with production in Japan to return to normal after July and North American output rebounding by September, Toyoda said. North American operations will also gain more autonomy, a change Toyoda called his “most important goal,” according to the excerpt.

The efforts to hearten dealers after the March 11 disaster slashed supplies of Toyota cars and trucks come just before the company releases its June sales figures.

Japan’s largest automaker may report a 10.2 percent drop in U.S. sales from a year earlier, according to Truecar.com, a Santa Monica, California-based industry forecaster.

Toyota’s sales fell 33 percent in May owing to tight supplies of Prius hybrids and luxury Lexus cars. U.S. sales for the Toyota, Aichi Prefecture-based carmaker declined 0.6 percent this year through May, while industrywide deliveries rose 14 percent.

Along with the new Camry, the top-selling car in the United States, Prius v wagons will be sold in the U.S. as planned this year, followed in early 2012 by the Prius c, Toyoda said. The subcompact may be the most fuel-efficient hybrid in the U.S., he said, without elaborating.

The company will also add a plug-in Prius hybrid next year, an all-electric RAV4 sport utility vehicle and the iQ minicar, Toyoda said.

Toyota models will feature a new in-car information system developed with Microsoft Corp. geared to appeal to U.S. drivers, he said.

The carmaker, which has lost sales this year to Ford Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co., is “more committed and more passionate than ever” about being an industry leader, Toyoda said. To do that, “we must earn it with our actions and with our words, with great products and great service,” he said.

Toyota’s America depositary receipts, each representing two ordinary shares, rose 1.8 percent to $81.53 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading Tuesday.

The automaker’s U.S. sales unit is based in Torrance, California.

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