Toyota sets 2011 target at 8.6 million


TOKYO — Toyota Motor said Tuesday it aims to lift group global sales by three percent next year on the expectation that robust overseas sales will offset sagging Japanese demand. The Japanese automaker said it expects to sell 8.61 million vehicles in calendar 2011 across its Toyota, Daihatsu and Hino brands compared to 8.37 million in 2010.

The 2010 figure constitutes a 7 percent rise year-on-year during a 12 month period where the automaker rebounded from the depths of the financial crisis while facing millions of recalls, a wave of lawsuits and record fines. But in Japan the auto giant was braced for a 17 percent fall in Toyota-brand vehicle sales in 2011, with the expiration of government subsidies in September this year hitting sales of greener cars such as the top selling Prius hybrid.

The Toyota-brand vehicles’ overall overseas sales are expected to rise eight percent to 6.40 million vehicles. The group will cut overall domestic production by four percent, with the Toyota-brand reducing its Japanese production by five percent. But the group will increase foreign production by six percent, as will the Toyota brand. Japanese automakers have been shifting more of their production and sales overseas, particularly to growing Asian markets, as younger Japanese consumers avoid car purchases due to the high costs of fuel, maintenance and tax.