Tokyo: Toyota Motor, poised to regain its title as the world's biggest carmaker this year, said its vehicle sales may rise 2 per cent next year to a record, led by demand from overseas markets. Toyota said that it expects to sell 9.7 million vehicles globally this year itself, up 22 per cent from 2011 as Japan's biggest automaker accelerates a recovery after last year's natural disasters.
Those figures may put Toyota back in pole position as the world's biggest automaker, ahead of General Motors (GM) and Volkswagen. Previous company figures showed Toyota, whose brands include Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino, topped the global carmakers' table in the first half of 2012, accelerating past United States-based GM and the German auto giant.
Toyota lost the title last year a spot it had held between 2008 and 2010 following a slump in production and sales owing to Japan's March 11 quake-tsunami disaster, floods in Thailand and the strong yen. GM, which sold about nine million vehicles last year, was the world's biggest carmaker followed by Volkswagen with more than eight million vehicles sold. Toyota sold 7.95 million vehicles.
Global sales, including those of subsidiaries Hino Motors and Daihatsu Motor, may climb to 9.91 million vehicles in 2013, the Toyota City, Japan-based company said. The maker of the Corolla and the Camry sedan estimates sales expanded 22 per cent to a record 9.7 million this year, the biggest gain since at least 2000. Toyota is counting on the US to boost sales next year, countering a projected 15 per cent drop in Japan, where government subsidies to purchasers of fuel-efficient vehicles expired in September.
The automaker's 2013 forecast surpasses the previous high of 9.37 million units in 2007, before the global financial crisis sapped demand. "After the subsidies expired in September, car sales in Japan didn't fall tremendously, so Toyota's forecast for domestic deliveries to drop 15 per cent next year is bigger than we expected," Yoshiaki Kawano, a Tokyo-based industry analyst at IHS Automotive. "The US will continue to lead sales next year, but the growth level at Japanese carmakers will match the industry's, unlike this year, where they all outperformed the market."
The maker of the Prius, the world's best-selling gas-electric hybrid car, is set to regain the title of world's best-selling automaker from General Motors and Volkswagen this year, as the industry heads for a record year. Global 2012 sales will top 80 million cars and trucks for the first time, as robust US and Japanese purchases offset a European downturn, according to estimates from LMC Automotive.
In 2013, Toyota's overseas sales will rise 8 per cent to 7.87 million, while deliveries in Japan will decline to 2.04 million, the company said in the statement. Toyota said last month it will build a new engine factory in Indonesia to more than double capacity, part of a plan by the automaker and its related companies to invest 13 trillion rupiah ($1.3 billion) in the Southeast Asian country over the next five years.
For China, Toyota hasn't fixed a 2013 sales target as the automaker doesn't yet know how much this year's deliveries will be, Tachikawa said. Toyota's China deliveries in the 11 months through November fell 3.3 per cent to 749,600 units, setting the automaker on course for its first annual sales decline in the country on record. Sales have plunged in the months since violent anti-Japan protests broke out in cities in September across China.