Fri, Dec 23, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Toyota plans big comeback after year hit by disasters

AP, TOKYO

Toyota is aiming for a comeback, targeting global sales of 8.48 million vehicles next year and an even bigger number in 2013, after being battered this year by the March disaster in Japan and flooding in Thailand.

Toyota Motor Corp, Japan’s top automaker, relinquished its title as the world’s biggest in global vehicle sales for the first half of this year, sinking to No. 3 behind US rival General Motors Co and Volkswagen AG of Germany.

Toyota’s global vehicle sales for this year total 7.9 million vehicles, including group companies, down 6 percent from the previous year, it said in a statement yesterday.

Toyota’s targets for 2012 and 2013 do not include group companies such as Daihatsu Motor Co and Hino Motors, and so aren’t directly comparable with any forecasts from GM and Volkswagen.

Toyota said the sales target for 2012 would represent 20 percent growth from its sales this year.

Toyota has been making up for sales declines in North America and Japan with momentum in relatively new, but booming, markets such as China and India.

The manufacturer behind the Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury models said it plans to sell 8.95 million vehicles around the world in 2013, not including group companies.

Toyota said it had not yet figured out forecasts for group companies. It is possible the target may exceed 9 million vehicles, had they been included.

Toyota has gone through some hard times lately.

The global financial crisis in 2008 was behind a serious sales plunge in the key North American market.

Then came the massive recalls, mostly in the US, that tarnished Toyota’s once pristine reputation for quality amid speculation it had not been as forthright as it should have been about defects.

Toyota was on a gradual recovery track when the March 11 earthquake and tsunami struck in northeastern Japan, damaging suppliers and disrupting production because of a severe parts shortage.

Production got slammed again later in the year from flooding in Thailand.

Toyota said it expects to produce 8.65 million vehicles next year, up 24 percent from 6.97 million this year. It expects to produce 8.98 million vehicles in 2013, it said.

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