Toyota mulls slashing 2013 domestic sales goal by 19%

Kyodo

Toyota Motor Corp. might lower its annual target for Japanese sales next year to 1.36 million units, or about 19 percent lower than this year, sources said Friday.

Toyota plans to sell 1.67 million units in Japan this year but is expecting the first annual drop in two years due to the end of government subsidies for buying environmentally safer cars, the sources said.

While a domestic target of about 1.36 million exceeds the 1.2 million units of 2011, when sales plunged following the earthquake and tsunami in March, it remains comparable to the 1.37 million units of 2009 when the global auto market shrank during the global financial crisis, which was deepened by the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September 2008.

Toyota aims to stick to its plan of producing 3 million units domestically in 2013 to protect jobs and technology at home, with an eye to exporting half of them amid slowing demand in Japan.

For the year through March, Toyota is expected to post a group operating profit of ¥1.05 trillion, driven by brisk sales in Southeast Asia and North America, up from an earlier projected ¥1 trillion.