Toyota's mainland sales jump 87pc in May

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 June, 2007, 12:00am

Carmaker targets 10pc market share by 2010

Toyota Motor Corp, one of the fastest-growing brands in the country, reported an 87 per cent year-on-year surge in sales last month, buoyed by the strong performance of its mid-range Camry sedan in the world's second-largest car market.

Excluding Hong Kong, Toyota's sales in the mainland totalled 33,000 units last month. For the first five months of this year, sales climbed 76 per cent to 176,000 units.

The company rolled out its first mainland-made Camry in May last year from a new plant in Guangdong province.

Toyota's sales growth in May was almost four times that of the mainland carmaking industry.

A recent research note from global accounting firm KPMG said Toyota was an example to other domestic carmakers about linking brand reputation and dealership service. It said the close relationship between Toyota and its dealers was an avenue for the manufacturer to build its brand.

According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, the mainland posted 23 per cent growth in sales last month. Consumers snapped up 488,500 vehicles, lured by price cuts and a roll-out of new models.

In the first five months, vehicle sales rose 21 per cent to 2.57 million units, the association said in an emailed statement yesterday.

Toyota and Honda Motor, Japan's two biggest carmakers, expect their sales growth in the mainland to outpace the industry average this year as they expand their operations.

Toyota, a partner of First Auto Works and Guangzhou Automotive Industry, forecast that its mainland sales would increase 30.7 per cent this year to 400,000 units from 308,000 last year. Sales are tipped to rise to 500,000 units next year.

Toyota is seeking to boost its market share in China to 10 per cent by 2010, from 6.5 per cent last year.

In addition to mid-range cars, Toyota boosted production of its economy Corolla sedan.

The company opened a factory in Tianjin last month with First Auto Work to meet rising demand for the Corolla. The plant has an annual production capacity of 200,000 units.

The company has two other plants that produce 250,000 sedans annually.

Meanwhile, Guangzhou Toyota Motor Company, the Japanese car company's venture with Guangzhou Automotive announced yesterday the construction of a second plant in Guangzhou.

The new plant, which will make Camry sedans and Yaris compacts, is expected to have an annual production capacity of 100,000 vehicles. The joint venture aims to sell 150,000 Camry models for this year and about 80,000 to 90,000 units of the Yaris annually.

Toyota said it is also planning another new factory in Guangzhou but details, such as production capacity, were not confirmed.

A company spokeswoman told Reuters yesterday that Toyota was in discussions about building the plant but would take a cautious approach until Camry sales reached 200,000 units a year.