Toyota dealers want automaker to keep up with German demand

Berlin. German Toyota dealers fear they are losing customers because of delivery problems.

Toyota sales are rising so fast in Germany that the Japanese company is having difficulty keeping pace with demand.

Burkhard Weller, a spokesman for the dealers, explained the problem: "The question is whether a customer is prepared to wait five months for the delivery of a Corolla if they can get an Astra or a Golf straight from the showroom."

The lack of vehicles was one of the main subjects at the Toyota dealers' meeting here on May 5.

The situation is worsened by the increasing number of reimports. Up to 15,000 Toyotas a year are reimported to the German market from other European countries.

"Special promotions in countries such as Denmark pose a serious problem to us," one dealer said, criticizing the manufacturer's price politics.

Toyota executives told the dealers that they wanted the German market to receive more than the planned volume of 120,000 vehicles this year.

Yoichi Tomihara, president of Toyota's German unit, announced that from January through April Toyota's German sales rose by 32 percent to 44,000 units.

Toyota's goal for Germany is annual sales of 150,000 vehicles by 2007.

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