Toyota Set To Become Top Dog In The U.S.

Depending upon your philosophical bent, this is either good news or another sign that the Apocalypse is near.

The WSJ is reporting that Toyota is slated to take over the title as the number 1 seller of light vehicles in the U.S.

The bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler are changing the landscape of the auto industry. The two U.S. companies are shuttering plants, shedding dealers and reducing their product lines.

As a result, Toyota Motor will become the largest seller of light vehicles in the U.S. It has held the top spot globally since last year.

The Japanese auto maker won’t be the only beneficiary of the two companies’ woes. But in terms of status, market clout and bragging rights, Toyota will be the No. 1 winner.

Its share of the North American light-truck and car market probably will rise to around 20% from 18.4%. GM will end up in second place with 13% to 16% — with Ford hot on its tail.

Although Toyota stock doesn’t change hands directly in the U.S., the company’s American depositary shares (TM), which represent them, are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

And, at a recent price of around $76 — about $30 below their 52-week high — they’re a good bet for long-term investors.

The Journal suggests that the stock might be a good long-term buy. They point out that analysts suggest it could hit $115 and that it hit $137 a couple of years ago. Maybe, but just a caveat. Toyota and others now have the most fearsome of competitors  – government owned companies. In the long run that probably means success for the competitors as political decisions trump business common sense. In the short run it could be formidable as the government does whatever is necessary to prove it didn’t make the stupid decision that everyone acknowledges it did.

Buy the stock at your peril.

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