Toyota edges closer

On Friday Toyota will announce production plans for 2007 and give a firm indication that it will likely pass GM as the world’s number one automaker. If reports in the Japanese press are correct, the likely figure will be 9.45 million, including sales of Toyota’s Daihatsu and Hino subsidiaries. That’s a rise of around 400,000 over 2006, despite Toyota delaying the introduction of some new models, such as the new Corolla in the U.S., to ensure quality standards are maintained. The numbers certainly sound about right given Toyota chief Katsuaki Watanabe had already said the company is aiming for sales of 9.8 million by the end of 2008. What’s more, with Toyota’s tendency to outstrip targets, 10 million units in a year can’t be far away.

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