April 10, 2014 4:19 am JST

Toyota aims to double Chinese car sales to 2M a year by 2025

NAGOYA -- Toyota Motor has plotted a course in China that it hopes will drive its sales to 2 million cars a year by 2025, more than doubling the 917,000 it sold there in 2013.

     To reach that goal, the Japanese automaker will promote hybrid vehicles for the eco-conscious consumers and inexpensive small cars for younger drivers. It also plans to boost investments to ramp up local production capacity.

     In terms of market share, Toyota is stuck in sixth place in the world's largest car market. But even with this new sales target, the automaker insists that it is not pursuing volume and remains faithful to chief Akio Toyoda's policy of concentrating on quality. The company says it is acting to counter moves to expand sales by rival carmakers such as Germany's Volkswagen.

     Starting as early as 2015, Toyota will use its Chinese joint ventures with the FAW Group and the Guangzhou Automobile Group to manufacture and sell hybrid vehicles. The cars will incorporate core components developed in China, and Toyota will procure the batteries and inverters locally to push costs down further.

     In China's small-car market, Toyota will promote the Yaris and Vios, offering autos at low prices for young, first-time car owners in the country's interior.

     The automaker also plans to offer a broader line of models in China, including the Corolla model geared for the U.S. market.

     Toyota makes cars in China at four joint venture factories in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Changchun. Their combined production capacity for 2015 is estimated at 990,000 units, so the company will need to invest in new factories to reach the 2-million-unit mark. It is reviewing its options and is looking at possible sites in Guangzhou and Shanghai.