Toyota plans growth in Emerging Markets image

Toyota Motor Corp. will look to sharply increase its sales in emerging markets by 2015 in an attempt to catch up to front-runners such as Volkswagen AG and General Motors.

The biggest Japanese automaker plans to sell more than 1 million subcompacts in more than 100 countries and regions, such as China, Southeast Asia, India and Brazil by 2015.

The Japanese giant said it would make eight new cars at plants in Thailand, Indonesia, India and Brazil, priced at “about one milliion yen or more.”

“In emerging markets, there are four or five automakers vying to take the lead in sales volumes,” Toyota Executive Vice President Yukitoshi Funo told reporters.

“Particularly in the Southeast Asian region, Volkswagen and others are looking to challenge our lead so we can’t be resting on our laurels,” he said.

Subcompacts are small, fuel-efficient cars with smaller engine sizes and compact bodies.

Toyota Motor Corp. already sells more than 3 million vehicles a year in emerging markets, making up 45 percent of its global sales of 7.1 million vehicles.

Toyota regained its position as the world’s number one automaker in the first quarter, stealing back the lead from US giant General Motors, according to manufacturers’ figures.