TOYOTA MAY add another European plant after 2005. It won't exclude mergers and acquisitions from its quest to capture 15 percent of world vehicle sales within a decade. And Toyota won't even count the 100,000 units it will get out of a joint venture with PSA/Peugeot-Citroen in the Czech Republic toward its target of 800,000 European sales by 2005, said Toyota Chairman Fujio Cho. Cho talked to Automotive News Europe's Luca Ciferri at the opening of a E45 million Toyota Motor Italia headquarters in Rome.
With its '2010 Global Vision,' Toyota wants 15 percent of the world passenger car market by 2010, or a 50 percent growth. Toyota sold almost 6 million units last year, so do you mean to add another 3 million by 2010?
Yes and no. The target is to reach 15 percent, so a growth of 50 percent is correct. The volume total - and consequently our growth from the current level - instead would mainly depend on how the world car market evolves.
Your Global Vision statement mentions twice that Toyota will include mergers and acquisitions. Are you going to buy another carmaker?
The 'mergers and acquisitions' referred mainly to environmental protection and to information technology. At the moment, we are planning to increase our volumes by half with internal growth only. I'm not saying we could not make an acquisition of another automaker if the conditions were interesting, but to date we have neither plans nor ideas on this issue.
Toyota's goal is 15 percent of the world market for 2010, but in Europe Toyota is still focused on a 5 percent market share by 2005. How much should Europe contribute by 2010?
First, the 5 percent in Europe, or 800,000 sales, is a target I hope we could reach sooner than 2005. Last year we sold 670,000 units, this year we could reach 740,000 units, and so we are well on track. I won't publicly announce other targets for Europe, but I can add that the 100,000 units we will begin producing from 2005 in the Czech Republic with PSA are not counted in the 800,000-unit plan. That goal had been set before I started to discuss this new joint venture with [PSA Chairman Jean-Martin] Folz.
Assuming further growth in Europe, would Toyota need further capacity here?
It is a possibility, but not sooner than 2005. We first must fully develop our new plant in Turkey [to replace Japan in supplying Europe with the Corolla sedan and station wagon] and reach full capacity at our joint venture with PSA.
Is Toyota discussing cooperation with the Volkswagen group?
Yes, we are talking of possible cooperation on the IT and recycling side, but nothing has been finalized yet. Do not forget that environmental vehicles are the focus point for the survival of automobiles.