Trucks & SUVs

Toyota Highlander Sales Are Off to a Rough Start in 2020

The Toyota Highlander might be a little underwhelming, but there are still plenty of consumers who like it. It makes a great used SUV if you can’t buy new, and the hybrid option has the best fuel economy numbers of any three-row SUV on the market. That hasn’t been enough to save it from falling sales in the past few months, however. 

According to Good Car Bad Car, the 2020 Toyota Highlander has seen a bit of a drop compared to last year. So what’s the deal? Is this due to COVID-19, or do consumers not like the Highlander anymore? Let’s take a look at the numbers to figure it out.

What do the sales look like for the 2020 Toyota Highlander?

Things aren’t looking so good for the Toyota Highlander at the moment. One might say they looked downright bleak. Its sales have taken a rather sharp drop that had to hurt.

In February, the Highlander sold 20,174 vehicles. That was a new record for February since the Highlander hadn’t sold that many since 2005. 

Then things took a sharp turn in March. Sales dropped by half to 10,707. In April, sales dropped even further to only 5,613 Highlanders.

Things have begun to look up a little for the Highlander, however. In May, it doubled its sales to 12,472, and in June, Toyota sold 13,096 Highlanders. That’s not a huge jump, but it’s a sign of hope. Still, how did things look at this time in 2019?

What did the numbers look like this time last year?

It wasn’t that long ago that sales numbers for the 2020 Toyota Highlander were skyrocketing, and some critics like MotorTrend tested it to find out if it was worth all the hype. While they thought it had improved in some key areas such as the interior, the third row is still as notoriously cramped as ever.

That hasn’t stopped the Highlander from being one of the top-selling SUVs in 2019. Despite being considered overpriced, consumers seem to flock to the Highlander.

In February 2019, the Highlander sold 17,384, which Toyota beat out in 2020. In March, it sold 20,824, in April 17,190, in May 21,548, and June 19,824 vehicles. Even though Toyota has gained back some of its lost potential, it’s still down by half of what it was making this time last year. 

COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the auto industry

Say what you want, but there can be no denying that COVID-19 has put a damper on the auto industry. Not only did several plants shut down completely, but consumers simply aren’t buying. Many of them were laid off, while others were uncertain of the future. That doesn’t give consumers the confidence to buy a new vehicle, no matter how badly they might need one.

Things are looking up somewhat, however. RV and Winnebago sales are soaring as people venture out of the home, but aren’t quite ready to stay in a hotel yet. Then, some automakers like Tesla are converting their factories to make equipment for ventilators, masks, gowns, and many other much-needed products. 

It’s also important to note that the sales for the Toyota Highlander have begun creeping back up. In May, the sales numbers more than doubled, and there was another jump in June. The figures for July haven’t released yet, so we cannot comment on that, but things are slowly looking up for the Highlander.   

RELATED: 2020 Toyota Highlander: Consumer Reports Biggest Knocks Aren’t Dealbreakers