Planet Gore

Is best-selling Toyota a Green victory?

 

Toyota made headlines today as the world’s best-selling auto company, beating GM for the first time. At the same time, the Union of Concerned Scientists has declared Toyota America’s greenest auto company, just behind Honda. Enviros say green is what put Toyota on top.

 

Think again.

 

Toyota became the world’s top-selling automaker by significantly penetrating its largest auto market, the United States. And that doesn’t happen without building big. Big cars. Big trucks.

 

Of Toyota’s 7 million in global auto sales, a whopping 35 percent (2.5 million) are sold in the U.S. alone. To achieve that figure, Toyota has had to compete against the Big Three in every segment, most significantly the fuel-thirsty trucks and luxury auto segments.

 

In 1985, Toyota sold under a million vehicles in the U.S. – 96 percent of them small cars. Today, at 2.5 mil in sales, only 28 percent of its fleet are small cars, while 20 percent are large vehicles (SUVs).

Toyota may be Green, but trucks make the green.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

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