Toyota Korea Wants to Import Cars from Europe image

Toyota Motor Corp plans to import cars to South Korea from Europe, aiming at further cutting on the neighboring Japan for shipments amid the yen’s strength.

South Korea is mainly dominated by local companies such as Hyundai Motor and Kia Motor, but Toyota plans to boost local sales by 160% to 13,000 units in 2012, and 90% to 8,000 units for Lexus. Recently the company launched three new Prius models in South Korea.

In November 2011 Toyota sold seven-seat Sienna minivans from its Indiana plant in South Korea, and in January 2012 it added Camry sedans from the Kentucky plant. Since the yen expected to remain strong throughout the year amid sovereign-debt woes in the euro zone, analysts expect more non-Japanese Toyotas to land in South Korea.

Toyota seeks to bond more sickness ties with South Korean auto-parts makers, such as Hankook Tire Manufacturing Co., the country’s largest tire maker by sales, and maybe with Hankook, which in September began supplying tires for the three-door hatchback Scion iQ equipped with a 1.4-liter diesel engine.

The company expects 2012 to be better than 2011, when the business was affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and Thailand.