Toyota Aims For Record Worldwide Sales In 2003

By Agence France-Presse Japan's top automaker Toyota Motor Corp. said Dec. 17 its group aimed for yet another year of record sales, targeting 5.79 million vehicles worldwide in 2003, up 5% from an estimate for this year. Toyota expects continued strong demand overseas to help it achieve best-ever worldwide sales for the 11th consecutive year. Sales abroad by the Toyota group, including models by minicar manufacturer Daihatsu Motor Co. Ltd. and truck maker Hino Motors Ltd., are seen rising 6% to 4.19 million units in 2003. Domestic sales were predicted to drive up 3% to 2.3 million vehicles, with sales of Toyota-brand cars alone growing 2% to 1.72 million units to post the first rise in three years. Production in Japan is estimated to skid 1% to 4.1 million units next year while overseas output is planned to soar 15% to 2.5 million. Group exports are planned to drop 6% to 1.82 million units as it steps up local production. Toyota hopes to raise the group's worldwide production in 2003 by 5% to 6.6 million units. This year, the Toyota group's domestic production is likely to rise 2% from 2001 to 4.13 million. "This is because of robust overseas demand . . . we exported vehicles from Japan as increased local output could not meet strong demand fully" in the United States and other markets, Toyota spokesman Hitoshi Nagashima said. Exports are estimated to grow 10% to 1.93 million units in 2002. Sales of new Toyota-brand cars are seen dipping 2% from 2001 to 1.69 million units this year, falling below 1.7 million for the first time in three years. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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