Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp – the world’s largest automaker – has decided to offer a conservative prediction for its delivery target this year, with the company projecting sales could eventually fall below 2014’s level.
With the Japanese automaker forecasting lagging demand in numerous crucial markets, such as Japan, Indonesia and others, 2015 could see Volkswagen AG stealing the industry crown ahead of its planned schedule. Volkswagen Ag became the second-largest carmaker in the world back in 2013, overshadowing the largest US automaker – general Motors. Toyota’s move also signals Chief Executive Akio Toyoda’s new strategy to direct the company through cost effective, profit-generating growth after chasing volume cost dearly the company in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The automaker’s 2015 global auto sales forecast, which includes subsidiaries Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors is projected at 1% below the 2014 level, with 10.15 million units. According to company representatives, this is the first expected drop in sales since at least 2000, excluding the 2011 mid-year revision when Japan’s plants were temporarily disabled after the country was stricken by natural disaster.
The company’s CEO has already imposed a three-year hiatus on production expansion through new factories – through the financial year to March 2016 – as the management strategy focuses on efficiency and profitability, rather than sales volume at any cost. Toyota’s China prospects – the world’s largest auto market – are even darker in 2015 after the company didn’t fulfill its 2014 sales target due to a slowing economy and rekindled political tensions between Beijing and Tokyo.