NAGOYA (Kyodo) Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday its group global sales in fiscal 2008 fell 11.7 percent from the previous year to 8.33 million units, as demand in key markets plummeted.

It is the first year-on-year decline since Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors Ltd. came under the Toyota group in fiscal 1999.

The decline signaled a major turnaround from fiscal 2007, when Toyota’s group global sales hit a record high 9.43 million units in the year through March 2008.

With the country’s top automaker struggling in all of its mainstay markets, speculation is rife that sales will slump further in the business year that began in April. Company sources earlier said Toyota’s domestic output is also likely to fall below 3 million units during fiscal 2009.

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