TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp., which passed Ford Motor Co. in global sales and production last year, has revised its 2004 forecast upward after a strong first half of the year.
Toyota says it will increase 2004 worldwide unit sales and production by about 10 percent over 2003. Toyota is No. 2 in the world after General Motors in both categories.
Last year was like "fertilizing a young shoot," President Fujio Cho says. This year for Toyota will be like "a young sapling spreading its roots."
Overseas sales are "up in all regions," and "we intend to maintain this momentum," Cho says.
He says growth will continue in the next few years based on new factories Toyota is opening alone or with partners in Texas, the Czech Republic and China. Production also will expand either this year or next in England, Turkey and Southeast Asia.
Toyota Motor's global sales will rise 9 percent in 2004 to 6.61 million units, the company says. Toyota Motor sales include sales of Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. The forecast is up from the 6.33 million Toyota predicted at the start of the year.
Toyota Motor's Japan sales will edge up 2 percent from last year to 1.76 million. Overseas sales will climb 11 percent to a record 4.85 million, the company predicts.
Toyota's group sales - including subsidiaries Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors Ltd. - will rise 9 percent to about 7.39 million worldwide, the company forecast. At the start of the year Toyota predicted group global sales of 7.08 million.
Overseas sales will rise 12 percent to 5.01 million. Sales in Japan will gain 3 percent to 2.38 million.
Toyota is not releasing forecasts for individual markets outside of Japan. But Yoshio Ishizaka, executive vice president for international operations, says Toyota aims for U.S. sales to top 2 million.
"Our local employees are trying to achieve 2 million, even though we have a very low level of stock," Ishizaka says.
Last year, the group sold 1,866,314 Toyota, Lexus and Scion models in the United States.
Through June, Toyota and Lexus sales in the United States totaled 1,004,636, up 11.2 percent. Toyota and Lexus had a combined 41-day supply of vehicles on July 1.
To meet overseas demand, Toyota will raise group production in Japan by 5 percent to 4.44 million and overseas production by 20 percent to 3.10 million. That will bring group worldwide output to about 7.54 million, up 10 percent over last year.
It would be the first time both group worldwide sales and output top 7 million.
Exports are expected to jump 8 percent to 2.11 million, about 160,000 more than Toyota predicted at the start of the year.