Toyota Motor Corp., poised to regain its title as the world’s biggest carmaker this year, said its vehicle sales may rise 2 percent next year to a record, led by demand from overseas markets.
Global sales, including those of subsidiaries Hino Motors Ltd. and Daihatsu Motor Co., may climb to 9.91 million vehicles in 2013, the company said Wednesday. The maker of the Corolla and Camry sedan estimates sales expanded 22 percent to a record 9.7 million this year, the biggest gain since at least 2000.
Toyota is counting on the U.S. to boost sales next year, countering a projected 15 percent drop in Japan, where government subsidies to purchasers of fuel-efficient vehicles expired in September. The carmaker’s 2013 forecast tops the previous high of 9.37 million units in 2007, before the global financial crisis sapped demand.
“After the subsidies expired in September, car sales in Japan didn’t fall tremendously, so Toyota’s forecast for domestic deliveries to drop 15 percent next year is bigger than we expected,” said Yoshiaki Kawano, a Tokyo-based industry analyst at IHS Automotive. “The U.S. will continue to lead sales next year, but the growth level at Japanese carmakers will match the industry’s, unlike this year, where they all outperformed the market.”
The maker of the Prius, the world’s best-selling gas-electric hybrid car, is set to regain the title of world’s best-selling automaker from General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG this year, as the industry heads for a record year. Global 2012 sales will top 80 million cars and trucks for the first time, as robust U.S. and Japanese purchases offset a European downturn, according to estimates from LMC Automotive.
In 2013, Toyota’s overseas sales will rise 8 percent to 7.87 million units, while deliveries in Japan will decline to 2.04 million, the firm said in the statement.
“We expect sales in the U.S. and Asia to continue to rise next year,” Joichi Tachikawa, a Tokyo-based spokesman for the Japanese carmaker, said Wednesday by phone. “Asia’s sales will be driven by Indonesia, while for the U.S., models such as Avalon and Lexus LS will likely help boost sales.”
Toyota said last month it will build a new engine factory in Indonesia to more than double capacity, part of a plan by the automaker and its related companies to invest 13 trillion rupiah ($1.3 billion) in the Southeast Asian country over the next five years.
For China, Toyota hasn’t fixed a 2013 sales target as the automaker doesn’t yet know how much this year’s deliveries will be, Tachikawa said.
Toyota’s China deliveries in the 11 months through November fell 3.3 percent to 749,600 units, setting the automaker on course for its first annual sales decline in the country on record. Sales have plunged in the months since violent anti-Japan protests broke out in cities in September across China.