ST GALLEN, Switzerland -- Toyota Motor Corp. President Fujio Cho told Reuters on Friday group sales volume would exceed the 6.26 million units originally seen for this financial year as the company boosts its European presence.
Toyota said earlier this month it expected group sales volume -- including vehicles made by units Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors -- to rise by just 0.2 percent to 6.26 million units worldwide.
"It will be a little bit more than 6.26 million," Cho, president of the world's biggest car maker by market value, said in an interview on the sidelines of a management symposium at the University of St Gallen.
Europe is "doing quite well I think", while the United States was "doing well actually". However, Cho noted that the global market for autos was slowing.
"The market is stagnating so I don't think there will be a huge increase in the number of units (this year)," he added. Toyota earlier this month reported a group operating profit for the year to end-March of 1.36 trillion yen, up 21 percent on a better U.S. market, cost cutting and a resurgent euro.
Cho told the symposium that Toyota's performance in Europe, where it sold 756,000 units last year, was not good enough.
"Toyota's market share here was 4.4 percent, but we find this market share unsatisfactory," he said. "Toyota is trying harder by rapidly increasing its presence in Europe."
The Japanese car maker is aiming for five percent market share in the short term, and this target could be reached in 2004, rather than 2005 originally slated, Cho told Reuters.
After years of struggling in Europe, Toyota now wants to raise production capacity at plants in the UK and France.
Despite falling sales for European carmakers and overcapacity of around 30 percent in the region, Toyota has enjoyed higher sales thanks to new models designed to meet local tastes.
Toyota shares have outperformed those of the big three U.S. car makers -- General Motors, Daimler Chrysler and Ford -- in the last three years, as a series of successful new car launches in the United States and tight cost controls have contrasted with ageing models from Detroit.
Toyota plans to raise output capacity by 20 percent in the UK, where it makes its Corolla and Avensis models, to 270,000 vehicles and create 1,000 jobs.
In France, where it builds its Yaris model, Toyota eventually plans to raise capacity to 240,000 from 184,000.