Toyota aims to top 10 million units in 2015

The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network

The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network — Toyota Motor Corp. aims to reach a record global sales target of more than 10 million units in 2015, but much depends on how well it fares in emerging markets and whether it can produce small cars profitably, according to sources. Global sales of the Toyota group, which includes Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors Ltd., peaked at 9.36 million units in 2007. However, sales plummeted to 7.81 million units in 2009 because of a slump in auto demand in the wake of the global economic slowdown triggered in autumn 2008 by the U.S. financial crisis.

Demand for automobiles has recovered since then, with the group’s sales rising to 8.41 million units last year. Toyota predicts it will sell 8.61 million vehicles this year. The automaker plans to expand sales in emerging countries by concentrating on small cars. For example, it hopes to introduce cars priced at 1 million yen or less next year or in 2013 in China, Brazil and Southeast Asian nations. Toyota is optimistic it will reach the 10 million-unit threshold because it believes sales will recover in the United States due to the country’s economic upturn. Although the automaker plans to go on the offensive, it has its work cut out in emerging countries as it lags behind rival companies. It remains to be seen whether Toyota’s strategy will proceed as planned. When sales peaked at 9.36 million in 2007, the company set its 2009 target at 10.4 million units. But the economic slump caused sales to drop 20 percent in 2009. In 2010, Toyota sales in emerging countries rose by nearly 20 percent from the previous year. By introducing lower-priced small cars in emerging countries, where Toyota’s market share remains low, it hopes to achieve its target.