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Toyota's grand plans

Toyota CEO Katsuaki Watanabe today showed once again that the Japanese auto giant has no intention to take it easy on struggling rivals. Speaking in Tokyo, Watanabe outlined plans to increase sales from 8.85 million units this year to 9.8 million units in 2008. To do that, Toyota is planning to raise sales to 3 million North America and increase sales by about 30% in Europe and 70% in Asia (not including Japan). In Japan, Toyota expects almost flat sales but hopes to raise its market share—no small ambition given it already has 44% of the market. If all that wasn’t enough, Toyota is also aiming for a 10% operating profit margin, although Watanabe didn’t specify when. That could come sooner rather than later. Today, Toyota upped its unconsolidated (it doesn’t make consolidated half-year forecasts) operating margin forecast for the six months through Sept 30 to 9.8%.

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