Toyota Plans to Sell 1 Million Cars in Europe by 2015 image

Toyota plans to sell 1 million cars in Europe in the next three years, from 822,000 units sold in 2011.

The automaker is cautions in reaching its target and plans to increase sales slowly from 4.2% market share in 2011, to 4.5% this year and 5-5.5% in the following five years. It is quite an ambitious plan for a company which saw the market share on the continent shrinking over the past four years and where all automakers report losses and overcapacity.

“We have to run a sensible business, a profitable business. It’s very easy to lose money here in Europe, so we have to be careful and we want to go step by step,” Schlicht told reporters on the eve of the Paris auto show which begins on Thursday.

After North America, Asia and Japan, Europe is the automaker’s fourth largest market, where the company has 6 vehicle plants and 3 engine facilities. In 2007 Toyota reached sales of 1.3 million units in Europe and a 5.6% market share, but then in 2008-2009 profit dropped $1.8 billion due to the rising yen and the financial crisis. If in 1997 the yen was 120 to the dollar, in 2002 it soared to 77 per dollar, making it really expensive for Japanese automakers to export vehicles.