Toyota Motor Corp. aims to return to profitability in North America as early as next year, says Yoshimi Inaba, the carmakers new regional chief.
Inaba also told a group of Japanese reporters at the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich., that Toyota will have no problem meeting its 2009 U.S. sales target of 1.6 million vehicles.
His comments were reported in various Japanese business publications.
Total U.S. light-vehicle volume will reach at least 10 million this year, Inaba predicted.
New Toyota President Akio Toyoda tapped Inaba in June to head Toyotas troubled North American operations after leading Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. from 1999-2003. Toyota recently reported its fourth-straight quarter of operating losses in North America, once its most profitable market.
Inaba said North American operations will return to the black as early as the next fiscal year, which begins April 1, 2010. Said Inaba: I can feel the pulse for market recovery is strong.
As for Toyota possibly exceeding General Motors Co.s sales in the United States, Inaba said, We dont have the ambition of becoming the best-selling carmaker, but I think we are on that trend.
Toyota needs to focus on boosting sales as well as cost cuts in order to return to profitable operation, Inaba said.
My imminent task is to bring our North American business back in the black. Cost cuts are important, but there is a limit to them. We need to sell large volume.