Toyota revs up sales target 50pc
Kandy Wong in Guangzhou
Toyota Motor Corp is raising its sales target in the mainland to 700,000 vehicles next year from the previous estimate of 500,000 units, representing a 50 per cent increase from this year's goal.
Judging from crisp sales of its Camry sedan this year to date, the largest Japanese carmaker, which has Guangzhou Automotive Industry Corp and Jilin-based First Auto Works as partners, believes it will exceed this year's sales target of 430,000 vehicles to sell 480,000 units.
Since Toyota launched the Camry in May last year, it has sold 200,000 units of the model.
Figures the company unveiled during the Guangzhou car show yesterday further showed total sales of 380,000 vehicles in the first 10 months, up 68 per cent from the same period last year.
Toyota said in April it expected mainland sales growth to outpace the industry average this year due to expansion. Its third manufacturing plant, developed jointly with Tianjin FAW Automobile, started producing Corolla sedans in May.
In April, its US$270 million engine venture with FAW, which can produce 220,000 units annually, began manufacturing in Tianjin.
Foreign carmakers are expanding output, cutting prices and launching new models in the nation's vehicle market as demand surged to allow more room for growth.
Ranked second in the world by sales last year, the mainland's car market might hit sales volume of nine million vehicles this year, an increase of 24.7 per cent from last year.
Analysts said Toyota should find there was a lot of room for expansion.
'It should be emphasised that although the US market is still very important to Toyota, the company will focus more on China in the future,' said car analyst Matthew Kong of Fitch Ratings in Beijing.
'Among developing countries, China is most important to seek high growth.'
It is Toyota's stated aim to become the world's biggest vehicle maker, a position long held by US-based General Motors Corp.
Automotive News, a trade journal, reported that Toyota sold 8.8 million vehicles last year worldwide, while GM sold 8.68 million vehicles.
However, the Japanese company lost out to GM again in the recent third quarter on lower sales growth in the American market.