NEW YORK (AP) - Toyota rolled its first Venza wagon off the
factory floor in Kentucky on Monday as the automaker tries to push
further into the small vehicle market.
Toyota Motor Sales USA will price the five-person wagon between
$25,975 for its V-4, front-wheel drive model, and $29,250 for the
V-6, all-wheel drive model, the automaker said. The V-4 model gets
an estimated 21 miles per gallon in the city and 29 on the highway,
Toyota said, while the V-6 gets slightly less.
The V-6 model will hit dealerships in early December, with full
production and sales of both models starting in January, Toyota
The Japanese automaker has had success in the small-car market
recently with such cars as the Yaris subcompact, one of the few
cars that has posted rising sales this year in the difficult
Rival Honda Motor Co. has had similar results with its small
car, the Fit, whose sales rose 33 percent in October alone.
The Venza, which is built in Georgetown, Ky., on the platform of
its mid-size Camry sedan, will be sold exclusively in North
America, it said. The Venza's factory, Toyota Motor Manufacturing
Kentucky Inc., is Toyota's largest North American factory.
Toyota, the No. 1 Japanese automaker by sales, has taken a
beating from the difficult auto market in the U.S. in recent
months. Last week, it said its U.S. sales tumbled 23 percent in
October and issued a grim profit forecast for its fiscal year.
However, it remains in better shape than its Detroit
competitors. On Friday, both General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor
Co. reported heavy third-quarter losses, and GM said it could reach
the minimum cash needed to operate its business next year.
U.S.-traded shares of Toyota rose 63 cents to close at $69.15.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)