Toyota Motor has raised its production target for this year and plans to start buying batteries from Sanyo Electric to meet brisk demand for its hybrid vehicles, news reports said yesterday.
The world’s largest automaker now aims to produce 5.95 million Toyota-brand vehicles this year, up from a previous goal of 5.8 million, the Nikkei Shimbun business daily and other media reported without naming sources.
Toyota is enjoying brisk demand for its remodeled Prius, which has been Japan’s top-selling car in recent months as government incentives spur strong demand for fuel-efficient vehicles.
The Japanese giant will buy some 10,000 lithium-ion batteries a year from Sanyo from 2011 because its battery joint venture with Panasonic is having difficulty keeping up with strong demand, the Nikkei said.
Sanyo — which is being bought by Panasonic — now supplies nickel-metal hydride batteries to Honda Motor and US auto giant Ford. It also plans to supply lithium-ion batteries to Germany’s Volkswagen.
A Toyota spokesman declined to comment on the reports, which sent Sanyo shares soaring more than 10 percent to ¥247 (US$2.62), while Toyota shares gained 0.2 percent to ¥4,050, outperforming the wider market.
Toyota, which overtook US rival General Motors last year as the world’s top auto company, has idled plants and slashed thousands of jobs as it tries to recover from its first annual loss.
Earlier this year the company appointed Akio Toyoda as its new president, turning to the grandson of the company’s founder to rescue it from its biggest ever crisis.
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