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Toyota Motor Corp. said its global vehicle sales may rise 20 percent next year as Asia’s biggest carmaker recovers from production disruptions caused by the March earthquake and Thailand’s record flooding.

The maker of Prius hybrid cars may sell 8.48 million vehicles worldwide next year, compared with an estimated 7.05 million in 2011, it said in a statement Thursday. The forecast excludes Toyota’s Hino Motors Ltd. and Daihatsu Motor Co. units.

Toyota aims to recover market share lost this year when the natural disasters disrupted its supply chain, causing component shortages that shuttered factories worldwide, leaving car dealers short of inventory. Declining sales and gains in the yen prompted the carmaker to cut its profit forecast by more than half for the fiscal year ending in March.

Global production may rise 24 percent next year to 8.65 million vehicles, of which 3.4 million will be built in Japan, Toyota said in Thursday’s statement. Total output fell an estimated 9 percent to 6.97 million units this year, while vehicle sales dropped 6 percent, the carmaker said.

Net income for the 12 months ending March 31 may drop 56 percent to ¥180 billion, the company said Dec. 9. The reduced forecast came after Ford Motor Co. declared its first quarterly dividend since 2006 and General Motors Co., poised to end Toyota’s three-year reign as the world’s largest carmaker, boosted sales 9.2 percent in the first three quarters of 2011.

Nissan Motor Co., the nation’s second-largest carmaker, raised its profit forecast last month after its vehicle sales in China rose and as it recovered faster than Toyota from the quake and tsunami.

Toyota probably lost more output than any other carmaker because of the Thai floods, according to Masatoshi Nishimoto, a Tokyo-based senior manager at research firm IHS Automotive.

The automaker is set to introduce a plug-in version of its Prius, the world’s best-selling hybrid, in Japan next month and in the U.S. in March.

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