Toyota eyes 9.9 million vehicle target in 2013

China snag only factor keeping 10 million goal beyond reach

Kyodo

Toyota Motor Corp. is considering setting its group global production target at around 9.9 million vehicles for 2013, about the same level as this year’s all-time high, sources said Wednesday.

Toyota, however, will shelve a plan to achieve annual production of more than 10 million units for next year, a milestone yet to be achieved by any carmaker, as it expects sluggish sales of Japanese vehicles to continue in China due to the Senkaku territorial dispute, the sources said.

The carmaker nevertheless expects growth in its car sales in North America and Southeast Asia, according to the sources.

The company had earlier announced plans to produce a record 10.05 million vehicles this year but lowered the target in November to 9.89 million, in part due to shrinking demand in Japan following the end of government subsidies for buying environmentally friendly cars.

The target includes output by Daihatsu Motor Co. and truck and bus maker Hino Motors Ltd.

Toyota lowered its parent-only production target for next year to 8.7 million units from the earlier announced 8.98 million units amid uncertainties over the situation in China, the sources said. The target compares with 8.72 million units this year.

Domestic production is expected to drop 10 percent to around 3.1 million units, while overseas production will likely increase 6 percent to roughly 5.6 million units as Toyota plans to boost output in Southeast Asia, the sources said. The automaker plans to stick to its plan of producing at least 3 million units in Japan despite the yen’s appreciation, which hurts exports.

Meanwhile, the group’s auto sales are expected to reach a record 9.7 million units in 2012, the sources said.

According to a projection by research firm Fourin Inc., Toyota will likely take over the top spot in the global auto industry in sales terms for the first time in two years, exceeding German automaker Volkswagen’s 9.15 million units and 9.12 million units for General Motors Co. of the U.S.