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Toyota Targets 20% October U.S. Gain on Camry, Prius

Toyota Motor Corp., rebounding in the U.S. after four years of falling sales, may report a 20 percent rise in October deliveries on demand for Camry sedans and Prius hybrids, U.S. Group Vice President Bill Fay said.

The pace of sales so far in October is up “18 to 20 percent” from a year ago, slower than the 42 percent increase Toyota reported in September, Fay said this week in a phone interview. Toyota and other automakers are to release October sales figures on Nov. 1.

“We’re going to start to moderate a little bit in October,” said Fay, who manages U.S. sales of Toyota brand cars and light trucks. “Camry and Prius are strong. Cars continue to do very well this month.”

Demand for new vehicles remains a bright spot in an otherwise sluggish U.S. recovery this year, rising 15 percent through September and keeping the industry on pace for the best sales since 2007. Toyota, Asia’s largest carmaker, has had the biggest volume increase this year among the six largest automakers by U.S. sales. The company boosted Toyota, Scion and Lexus brand sales 32 percent, or 376,900 vehicles.

Offers of no-interest loans for 36 months on Camry and other models “are getting people in the door” of dealerships, said Jack Hollis, Toyota’s vice president of U.S. marketing, said in an interview in Yountville, California, this week. The expansion of Prius to a four-model lineup “has made it appealing to a much larger group of buyers,” Hollis said.

Camry, Prius forecasts Toyota’s U.S. volume will rise 25%, and that overall sales for the industry will grow 11%.

Camry is the top-selling car in the U.S. through September, with sales up 37 percent to 314,788. Prius sales totaled 183,340 through last month, 97 percent higher than a year ago.

Toyota should end 2012 with about a 30 percent U.S. sales gain, Fay said.

“From our vantage point, we’re expecting more of the same through November and December,” he said.

The Toyota City, Japan-based automaker’s U.S. sales unit is in Torrance, California. Its shares climbed 1.3 percent to 3,135 yen yesterday in Tokyo trading, bringing their advance this year to 22 percent.

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