Toyota revs sales with van release


Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday it expects to sell 4,000 Mark X ZiO minivans a month in the domestic market as the automaker speeds up model releases to meet a goal of raising domestic sales 2 percent this year.

The Mark X ZiO, powered by a 2.4- or 3.5-liter engine, costs between ¥2.56 million and ¥3.33 million. The model, which hit the market Wednesday, competes with Honda Motor Co.’s Odyssey and Mazda Motor Corp.’s MPV.

Toyota is accelerating model releases even though eight straight months of declining wages through July have made consumers reluctant to buy new cars. The carmaker aims to raise domestic sales to 1.72 million vehicles this year.

New models including the Noah minivan and Premio sedan helped Toyota increase domestic sales in August for the first time in a year, by 2.4 percent from a year earlier, to 104,191 vehicles.