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Toyota aims for 20 per cent sales jump in 2012

On a roll: Toyota Prius hatchbacks pour off a ship from Japan in California.

Mojo restored, Toyota aims to drive into the new year with record 8.48 million sales

Toyota logo22 Dec 2011

TOYOTA Motor Company is aiming to shake off its 2011 woes and get back to record sales pace in 2012 by shifting 8.48 million vehicles through its global showrooms – a lift of about 20 per cent on this year.

Beset by a series of natural disasters and fallout from its safety recall issues over the past 12 months, the Japanese giant is set to lose its world sales crown this year to General Motors, which was the number-one company until Toyota assumed the throne in 2008.

But GM’s reign might be short-lived if Toyota can achieve its 2012 sales forecast of 8.48 million, which is a tick more than the record 8.41 million vehicles sold under its Toyota and Lexus brands in 2010.

It then hopes to increase sales in 2013 to 8.95 million vehicles, presumably on the back of an improving world economy.

Toyota’s latest global sales forecast for 2011 is 7.9 million units (including Daihatsu and Hino) – a fall of six per cent over 2010.

A bright light for the company was its Hino truck division which clawed a 16 per cent global sales gain, helping to marginally offset falls of six per cent for Toyota and seven per cent for Daihatsu this calendar year.

The company has plenty of good reasons for the fall, with the massive Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March crippling production for months and slicing its 12-month home country production of Toyota-badged cars by 16 per cent this year.

 center imageLeft: Lexus production in Japan.

The earthquake also hampered parts supplies for overseas factories that more recently have been pummeled by the Thai floods, slicing overseas production by two per cent.

That the impact was so small speaks volumes for Toyota’s powers of recovery from crisis.

In the past year, Toyota’s Japanese sales have been the most affected, falling 19 per cent across its brands as production dried up and consumers in the ravaged country put away their wallets.

Toyota has largely recovered from the disasters, and predicts it will go into 2012 with an improved inventory in all markets.

While sales forecasts are brighter, the financial outlook is not so good, with the various disasters and strong yen set to slice Toyota’s profit this financial year, which ends on March 31.

It recently halved its forecast profit to $2.6 billion – well below its $5 billion profit in the 2010-11 financial year.

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