and Masatsugu Horie
Toyota, poised to regain its title as the world’s biggest carmaker this year, said its vehicle sales could rise 2 percent next year to a record, led by demand from overseas markets.
Global sales, including those of subsidiaries Hino Motors Ltd. and Daihatsu Motor Co., could climb to 9.91 million vehicles in 2013, the company said Wednesday.
The maker of the Corolla and the Camry sedan estimates sales expanded 22 percent to a record 9.7 million this year, the biggest gain since at least 2000.
Toyota is counting on the U.S. for a boost in sales next year, countering a projected 15 percent 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 percent next year is bigger than we expected,” said Yoshiaki Kawano, a Tokyo-based industry analyst at IHS Automotive. “The U.S. 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 Co. and Volkswagen AG 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 U.S. and Japanese purchases offset a European downturn, according to estimates from LMC Automotive.
In 2013, Toyota’s overseas sales will rise 8 percent to 7.87 million, while deliveries in Japan will decline to 2.04 million, the company said in the statement.
A spokesman said the Avalon and Lexus LS models are expected to help sales in the U.S.
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 $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 percent 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.
Worldwide production will be 9.94 million vehicles next year, almost unchanged from 9.92 million this year, according to the automaker.
Daihatsu sales may drop 3 percent to 840,000 units next year, while Hino will probably see deliveries increase 12 percent to 170,000 vehicles, the company said.