Toyota ups 2012 sales forecast
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TOKYO, Dec 26 AFP
December 26 2012, 9:17PM
Japan's Toyota group has forecast a 22 per cent jump in worldwide sales this year to 9.7 million units, driven by surging demand which may help it regain the top spot in the global auto market.
Those figures could put Toyota ahead of General Motors and Volkswagen as the world's biggest carmaker, 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 auto giant, 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 German auto giant.
Japan's biggest carmaker said on Wednesday it expects to sell about 9.91 million vehicles in 2013, up two per cent on-year. It was on track to produce 9.94 million vehicles in 2013, nearly unchanged from this year, the company added.
Toyota said domestic sales would jump 35 per cent this year to 2.4 million vehicles, with its overseas annual sales forecast to rise by 18 per cent to 7.3 million units.
The carmaker said last month it was on track to earn Y780 billion ($A8.94 billion) in the fiscal year to March, up from Y760 billion, but said sales would be Y21.3 trillion, trimming an earlier target of Y22 trillion.
A strong yen and turmoil in key European markets weighed, while a territorial dispute with China hurt sales.
The upward boost in earnings expectations was largely due to cost-cutting, including a decrease in labour and research and development expenses, Toyota said.
The carmaker also said it had been aided by robust Asian sales and a pick-up in the North American market.
However, Japan's carmakers 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.