January 18, 2014 2:00 am JST

Toyota eyes global output of 10.3 million vehicles in 2014

TOMOKO WAKASUGI, Nikkei staff writer

NAGOYA -- The Toyota group plans to build some 10.3 million automobiles worldwide this year, with record production in North America and China seen offsetting a drop in domestic output, The Nikkei learned Friday.

     The Japanese automaker is set to hit another industry record. Production will top the 10 million mark for the second straight year, following planned output of 10.12 million vehicles for 2013. The figure includes production by group firms Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors.

     The parent firm, which handles the Toyota and Lexus brands, anticipates record production of more than 9.1 million units, compared with a target of 8.9 million for last year. Domestic output is seen declining by 250,000 from the 2013 plan to around 3.1 million vehicles on account of the consumption tax hike in April, but overseas output is estimated at 6 million units, up 450,000.

     The parent expects to build roughly 2 million units in North America, an all-time high. In the U.S., where sales of new autos are strong thanks to an economic recovery, Toyota aims to boost sales by 3% to 2.3 million units. Plans call for expanding local production partly by shifting SUV manufacturing from Japan to the U.S.

     The group plans to build more than 1 million autos for the first time in China, the world's largest market. Orders are recovering after falling earlier due to a territorial spat between China and Japan, and sales hit a record of about 920,000 units last year. The group aims to boost sales further by increasing production of such models as the Vios subcompact.

     In emerging markets, production is expected to be sluggish in Southeast Asia as well as such countries as India.

     At home, last-minute buying ahead of the April tax hike is expected to result in a drop in demand afterward. But Toyota projects a recovery in orders over the summer and autumn. It expects to domestically produce the 3 million units -- its stated threshold for maintaining competitiveness in the local market.

     Daihatsu and Hino Motors are expected to produce about the same number of vehicles worldwide as the previous year.