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Quick Hits: No Tears For Toyota

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Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

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Don't cry for Toyota (TM).

The automaker cut its global sales target for 2008 to 9.5 million vehicles from 9.85 million. The revised forecast reflects slower sales in the United States.

But there's no need to pull out the hanky because even with the lowered sales forecast, Toyota expects to sell more vehicles than it did last year.

Toyota's sales in Western Europe and Japan are also expected to be slower this year, but are likely to be offset by good -- or at least decent -- sales in China and the Middle East.

Toyota says it now expects to sell about 2.44 million vehicles in the United States, down from its original estimate of 2.64 million. North American sales were cut to 2.67 million from 2.84 million.

Toyota, which manufactures reliable, fuel-efficient cars, trails only General Motors (GM) in annual vehicle sales - and is closing the gap quickly. American companies, including Ford (F), are moving away from SUVs and pickup trucks to meet the demand for better fuel economy.

Despite what you read in the general press, this isn't the end of the world. It's just the grinding -- and sometimes jarring -- retooling to meet changed market conditions.

No positions in stocks mentioned.
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