Toyota believes that this fiscal year the company’s automotive business in Europe will be profitable for the first time since 2007.
Toyota relies on its new models and on the increasing popularity of hybrids in the European market, according to Didier Leroy, the head of the Japanese automaker’s European operations. He added that this year hybrids will account for at least 17% of the automaker’s sales in Europe, an increase from 13% in 2012.
“In 2013, we want to sell more than 2012, even if we don’t know yet what the volume will be,” said Didier Leroy. “Based on the market share, we can, we will make a profit.”
Toyota managed to quickly recover from the natural disasters in Japan which affected production in 2011 and from the safety crisis in the US. Although the automaker cut 40% of its headcount at its headquarters in Brussels, the company managed to boost its bottom line in Europe during fiscal 2012. Last year Toyota’s sales in Europe dropped 3%, still better than the drop of 8.2% for the auto industry on the continent.
“(Toyota) is sort of pushing very hard with a renewed product range to make up for lost ground for the last couple of years,” said Tom De Vleesschauwer, director of long-term planning and sustainability for IHS Automotive. “We do expect they will fight back quite well.”