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Toyota's U.S. Sales Plummet 33.4% in May

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Toyota Motor (TM - Get Report) reported its May U.S. sales dropped 33.4% year-over-year to 108,387 vehicles as the company struggles to deal with parts shortages stemming from the March 11 earthquake in Japan.

The company's Toyota division posted U.S. sales of 96,082 units in May, down 31.6% over the same period last year, while its Lexus division reported U.S. sales of 12,305 cars and SUVs for the month, a year-over-year decline of 44.6%.

"As expected, May was an especially challenging month due mainly to uncertainties about our production forecast," said Bob Carter, Toyota's general manager of U.S. sales, in a statement.

Carter added, however, that Toyota is optimistic about its sales outlook in the United States because Japan production is expected to return to 90% of normal levels in June, while production for eight of its 12 North American-built vehicles is seen reaching 100 percent.

May's results were lower than that of April, when the company reported U.S. sales of 159,540 units, an increase of 1.3% when compared to the same period last year.

Toyota sold 18,830 Camry units in May. The Camry was the corporation's top seller last month.

The tC sports coupe and Scion boasted the most impressive growth numbers, up 119% and 23.7% respectively.

The results come after the Japanese car manufacturer announced a plan earlier Wednesday to voluntarily recall about 106,000 Prius vehicles worldwide. The recall includes about 52,000 Prius vehicles sold in the United States between 2001 to 2003.

The recall stems from problems with the power steering shaft and gear box on the Prius. Toyota said there is a chance that the nuts that secure the shaft to the gear box may become loose if the steering wheel is "repeatedly and strongly" turned to the full-lock position.

Shares of Toyota were off 1.7% to $81.86 on volume of roughly 300,000 in afternoon trades. The issue's three-month trailing daily average is 997,000.
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