• Kyodo

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Toyota Motor Corp. may build a fifth production plant in North America to take advantage of the growing North American market.

“The American population is growing, and we are thinking of building a new plant,” Toyota President Fujio Cho said Friday after attending a meeting with stock analysts and institutional investors in New York.

He emphasized, however, that the idea is a medium-term project for Japan’s top automaker.

When pressed about the timing of the plant plan, Cho said the project would only materialize after Toyota meets its sales target of 2 million cars a year in North America.

Toyota sold 1.9 million new cars in the North American market in 2001. It believes the 2 million sales target could be within reach in the next year or two.

Toyota is the fourth largest carmaker in North America in terms of car sales, after General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., and the Chrysler division of DaimlerChrysler Corp.

Toyota’s car sales have been growing steadily in North America, pushing its market share to nearly 11 percent.

Toyota’s four existing North American plants are in California, Kentucky, Indiana and Canada.

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