TOKYO -- Toyota Motor is eyeing a group production target of just under 10.2 million vehicles worldwide in 2015, which would mark the third straight year of surpassing 10 million.
The goal is slightly more than the projected output for 2014. Toyota also produced 10.1 million cars in 2013. The figures include output of subsidiaries Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors.
Overseas sales will likely rise, thanks to a strong North American market, but Japanese sales are expected to languish from the effects of last April's consumption tax hike. The domestic production target for the Toyota and Lexus brands alone will be set at about 3.1 million, less than the projected 2014 output of just under 3.3 million and marking a third straight year of cuts.
The tax hike has dampened sales in Japan. And with more production moving abroad, the weak yen would not necessarily boost exports. U.S.-bound exports of the Prius hybrid have also declined on falling crude oil prices.
But the auto giant plans to produce a record 2.3 million or so vehicles in North America. Cheap crude is propping up sales of larger offerings, such as the Tundra pickup truck. And an updated IMV emerging-market vehicle will be unveiled to build up demand in Latin America and Africa.
Toyota is also aiming to make roughly 1.1 million vehicles in China, compared with the 1.03 million of 2014. Inventory is piling up as the economy slows, and the target was revised down from original plans. The company will cut output in troubled Thailand and Indonesia as well. Inflation in Russia also poses some risks.
Total output by Volkswagen, whose global sales come in second only to Toyota, is expected to have topped 10 million units in 2014. The German automaker is investing heavily to boost production and intends to build an annual 4 million cars in China by 2018. It could seize the top spot from Toyota in 2015.