Toyota is targeting sales and profitability gains in Europe and Russia next year on the strength of its increasingly popular hybrid models.

Toyota, which ranks 10th in car sales in Europe, boosted deliveries in the region by 6.9 % in November, contributing to a car-market gain of 0.9 % for the month, according to industry figures. Growth has been propelled by the gasoline-electric-powered Lexus IS sedan, as well as hybrid versions of the Yaris subcompact and Auris hatchback.

Unlike US competitors General Motors and Ford, Toyota is profitable in Europe, more than doubling operating profit to 20.1 billion yen ($193 million) in the quarter ended September from a year earlier.

The Japanese manufacturer’s plants in France, the U.K. and Turkey are at full capacity, putting the company on track for its European production to account for 75 % of the cars it sells in the region by 2015, Didier Leroy, head of the Toyota Europe division, said in an interview.

“The real challenge for us is to be permanently asking ourselves whether we’re on track with profitable growth,” Leroy said at his office in Brussels. “There’s absolutely no doubt about the fact that we’ll be making more sales and profit next year than this.”

Hybrid models’ proportion of Toyota Europe’s sales has jumped to 20 % this year from 13 % in 2012, Leroy said. “We’ve never sold as many hybrids as we’re selling today,” he said. “If we fail in terms of profitability on these cars, we can’t move forward.”

Including deliveries in Russia, other former Soviet states, Turkey and Israel, Toyota Europe’s market share gained 0.2 percentage point to 4.7 %, putting a 4.8 % goal for this year in reach, Leroy said. That wider market will probably expand next year by a range of 0.5 to 1.7 % to as many as 17.9 million vehicles industrywide, he said.

Via Automotive News Europe


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