TOKYO, JAPAN: Japan's Toyota group forecast Wednesday (26 December) a 22% jump in worldwide sales this year to 9.7m units. The sales are driven by surging demand which may help it regain the top spot in the global car market.
The figures could put Toyota ahead of General Motors and Volkswagen as the world's biggest car manufacturer, a title it held between 2008 and 2010 but lost last year after a slump in sales and production. Japan's quake-tsunami disaster, floods in Thailand and a strong yen took a heavy toll on the company whose brands include Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino.
It topped the global carmakers' table in the first half of 2012, accelerating past US-based GM and the Germany's Volkswagen. Japan's biggest car company said it expects to sell about 9.91 million vehicles in 2013, up two percent more than this year.
It was on track to produce 9.94 million vehicles in 2013, nearly unchanged from this year. Toyota said domestic sales would jump 35% this year to 2.4m vehicles, with its overseas annual sales forecast to rise by 18% to 7.3m units.
The automaker said last month it was on track to earn ¥780bn in the fiscal year to March, up from ¥760bn, but said sales would be ¥23trn. A strong yen and turmoil in key European markets affected sales there, while a territorial dispute with China hurt sales in that market.
The boost in earnings expectations was largely due to cost-cutting, including a decrease in labour and research and development expenses, Toyota said. The company added that robust Asian sales and a pick-up in the North American market and helped it to sell more vehicles.
However, Japan's car manufacturers have seen a drop in their China revenue stemming from a bitter row between Tokyo and Beijing over a disputed island chain. Tokyo nationalised the East China Sea islands also claimed by Beijing in mid-September, sparking a diplomatic row that was marked by huge demonstrations across China and a consumer boycott of Japanese exports.
Toyota previously said it was expecting to sell 200,000 fewer vehicles in China in the second half of its fiscal year and take a ¥30bn hit to its bottom line from slumping demand in the world's biggest vehicle market. Toyota sold 900,000 vehicles in China in 2011.
Japanese firms have also struggled with the negative impact of a high yen which has weighed on the nation's manufacturers by making their products less competitive in overseas markets.
via I-Net Bridge