Toyota Motor Corporation’s shares TM have gained 17.4% year to date compared with the industry’s growth of 8.4%. Let’s take a look at the factors driving the company’s price performance.

Developing self-driving, electric and fuel vehicles, changing product mix and investments are contributing to the rally in Toyota‘s shares.

Changing product mix is driving the company’s sales in Europe and Asia. Further, the introduction of trucks and SUVs in the product line is anticipated to bolster sales across all regions in the upcoming quarter. Moreover, it has entered a joint venture with Panasonic. This collaboration will provide Toyota with more advanced batteries, thereby ramping up its vehicle production to expand presence in the EV market.

Toyota is also working on the development of a gas-electric hybrid. Its idea is to popularize fuel-cell vehicles (FCV) through mass production and reduce manufacturing expenses. The company anticipates selling 30,000 FCVs annually by 2020. Additionally, Toyota is working on hydrogen fuel stations in association with various partners.

The company is also making an advancement toward self-driving vehicles. It is signing collaboration agreements to develop autonomous car technology. Moreover, Toyota is shifting its vehicle production to new cost-saving platforms, which will slash costs by 20%.

For medium to long term, manufacturing self-driving, electric and fuel-cell vehicles will bolster the company’s product competitiveness.

Additionally, Toyota stated that it will invest $391 million in its truck assembly facility in San Antonio, TX, and $243 million in its Sorocaba facility in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Despite the slowdown in the automotive industry, Toyota continues to maintain sustainability, competitiveness and strength in business operations.

A few better-ranked stocks in the Auto-Tires-Trucks sector are Lithia Motors LAD, Douglas Dynamics, Inc. PLOW and SPX Corp. SPXC. While Lithia Motors currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Douglas Dynamics and SPX carry a Zacks Rank of 2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Lithia Motors has an expected earnings growth rate of 12.8% for 2019. The company’s shares have gained 71.6% year to date.

Douglas Dynamics has an expected earnings growth rate of 11.7% for 2019. The company’s shares have risen 24.7% year to date.

SPX has an estimated earnings growth rate of 22.7% for the current year. Its shares have gained 44.2% year to date.

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