Toyota aims to sell 510,000 Lexus-Brand Cars in 2012 image

Toyota’s Managing Officer Kazuo Ohara on Thursday said the Japanese automaker is looking to sell about 510,000 of its Lexus cars globally in 2012, the Nikkei reports.

Lexus lost its crown as the top luxury brand in the United States for the first time in 12 years in 2011, ceding the spot to BMW AG as Toyota suffered lost production after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

The Lexus target comes after Toyota lifted its 2012 overall domestic sales forecast on Wednesday to sell 8.58 million vehicles in 2012, up 21% from previous year.

But the new target still falls well short of the more than 9 million vehicles sold last year by the world’s largest auto maker General Motors Co. (GM), meaning Toyota is unlikely to easily win back the number one spot anytime soon.

Toyota finished fourth in 2011 with 7.9 million vehicles sold. Its sales were hurt last year because the March earthquake in Japan slowed its factories, and dealers ran short of cars to sell.

Globally, Lexus sold 404,000 vehicles last year, down from a peak of 518,000 in 2007.