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Automobiles

Toyota production to top 10m for first time in fiscal 2022

Strong demand in China and US markets expected to boost sales

A Toyota factory in Fukuoka, Japan produces Lexus cars. Japan's largest automaker expects a rebound in demand due to COVID-19 vaccines and an easing of the chip crunch. 

NAGOYA, Japan -- Toyota Motor plans to produce a total of 10.4 million units globally combining its Toyota and Lexus brands for the fiscal year 2022 ending in March 2023, Nikkei learned Saturday.

This marks the first time the auto group will top 10 million units, boosted by increased demand in the wake of successful vaccination campaigns as well as sufficient production of semiconductors.

Toyota has notified its main suppliers of its production plans. Suppliers will form their investment strategies leading up to fiscal 2022 based on this information.

The Japanese auto giant expects China and the U.S. to bolster the automotive market. Toyota's decision to increase production will be felt across the automobile supply chain and will likely be a major driving force for a manufacturing rebound in the post-COVID world.

Toyota's production plans for this fiscal year ending March 2022 eyes a total of 9.5 million units. Plans for the following year envision manufacturing 7.1 million units overseas and 3.3 million units in Japan, according to an internal document Nikkei has seen. Overseas production will see a roughly 10% jump, while output in Japan will be raised around 3%.

In 2020, Toyota overtook Volkswagen in sales, regaining the crown as the world's top selling automaker for the first time in five years. It is determined to keep it that way, as it prepares to enter the era of electrification.

Auto parts suppliers prefer to work with customers with large orders, and Toyota's production boost is likely to put it in an advantageous position in procuring batteries and motors for next-generation vehicles.

Currently global shortages of chips weigh heavily on automakers' production. A senior Toyota executive told Nikkei that the company expects chip procurement to "be normalized next year and there will be no impact" on output.

An executive of a parts manufacturer also said "production is scheduled to grow from around fall this year."

Toyota, which faced a serious supply shortage after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami in Japan, has since stockpiled parts throughout the supply chain, including chips. This contingency plan appears to have lessened the impact of the recent chip shortage compared with overseas rivals such as Volkswagen and General Motors.

China and the U.S., the two largest markets in the world, will play a leading role in expanding production in fiscal 2022. In China, Toyota plans to increase output of electric vehicles and other new energy vehicles. The company and its joint venture partner Guangzhou Automobile Group plan to increase plant capacity by 2022.

In the U.S., where the vaccine rollout is progressing, the company and Mazda Motor will jointly open a new plant in the southern state of Alabama during fiscal 2021 through next March.

In Japan, meanwhile, Toyota in fiscal 2022 plans to maintain the 3 million vehicle production line it argues it needs to maintain employment in Japan. Production of the Corolla Cross, a sport utility vehicle, and a new Land Cruiser are expected to begin.

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