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Automakers, including Toyota, expect annual fluctuations in the number of vehicles sold. However, falling numbers for popular models are always a reason for concern. So how worried should Toyota be about the data so far this year for the Corolla, RAV4, and Highlander?

A silver Toyota logo on the grille of a car
Toyota logo | Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Three Toyota models suffer declining 2023 numbers

GoodCarBadCar recently published data for several automaker’s popular models. The data examines several aspects of vehicle sales, including April 2023 to April 2022 and year-to-date 2023 to 2022 comparisons. Selecting Toyota’s Corolla, RAV4, and Highlander models from the list opens more detailed monthly and annual numbers dating back to 2005. 

The Toyota Corolla struggles this year

Comparing April 2023 Toyota Corolla numbers to the previous April shows a 31.76% decline from 24,516 units in 2022 to 16,729 in 2023. However, the first four months of 2023 show a less significant slide as year-to-date figures fell from 72,017 in 2022 to 59,704, a 17.10% decline. 

2015 was the best year for Corolla since 2005, with 363,332 units sold. However, after falling almost every year, Corolla numbers leveled off in 2021 at 223,215 and fell to 222,216 in 2022.

Toyota RAV4 April numbers fell by 9.59% for 2023 compared to last year, selling 33,610 units in 2022 versus 30,386 in 2023. Year-to-date figures slipped 14.62%, with 134,802 in 2022 compared to 115,090 in 2023. 

This Toyota model’s annual numbers continued falling from 2019’s 448,068 to 366,741 units in 2022. Comparing monthly figures for the first four months of 2023 to those in 2022 shows a monthly deficit ranging from 3,224 units up to 6,070. 

The Toyota Highlander isn’t immune to the struggles

Toyota Highlander numbers fell slightly for April 2023 from last year’s value, with 19,353 in 2023 compared to 19,788, a 2.20% decline. However, the year-to-date comparison is more concerning, declining 12.95% from last year, with 85,814 in 2022 compared to 74,697 this year. 

The Highlander’s popularity peaked at 264,128 in 2021, making 2022’s 222,805 numbers look bad. However, by comparison, 2022 ranks fourth highest for Highlander sales since 2005. However, the three best years are 2021, 2018, and 2019 so the downturn shouldn’t go ignored. 

The company isn’t in any real danger


Toyota’s Small SUVs Ranked by Popularity

Finding a clear-cut reason for these drops isn’t easy. It would be easy to blame it all on supply-chain issues; however, other companies like Honda don’t seem to be having similar issues this quarter.

Another possible reason is that the competition is just catching up to Toyota. These days almost every automaker makes safe and reliable cars, not just Toyota. Not to mention with price increases, Toyotas aren’t as affordable as in the past.

Whatever the true reasons, Toyota still produces top-rated vehicles in the United States and appear safe from going under. However, some underperforming models may undergo redesign or transition to other segments, for example, the Toyota Corolla Cross. Overall, Toyota’s most popular models continue to sell in large numbers. 

Sorting GoodCarBadCar’s 2023 year-to-date data by descending order shows that many of these models are still extremely popular. The RAV4 and Highlander continue to be two of the most popular SUVs and the Corolla is no slouch either. Obviously, Toyota doesn’t want to see these numbers continue to drop, but it would have to fall a long way to be really concerning.

So while it’s true that the Toyota Corolla lags behind other Toyotas just outside the top 10, it’s still ahead of prominent models like the Mazda CX-5, Ford Bronco, and Hyundai Santa Fe.