Toyota to raise global sales forecast, plans to sell 8.8 million vehicles image

Toyota Motor Corp is considering raising its global sales target this year to 8.8 million units from the 8.58 million it had announced in February, Kyodo News reported Tuesday.

Without citing where it obtained the information, Kyodo said that the move comes amid signs of strength in Toyota’s sales in emerging markets, especially in Asia.

Japan’s biggest automaker did not confirm the report. “We are planning to closely study the current conditions in considering such matters,” said Joichi Tachikawa, a spokesman at Toyota.

Toyota bounced back from safety recalls and natural disasters, selling 4.97 million vehicles globally in the first half of the year to retake its crown as the world’s top automaker from General Motors Co.

GM said it sold 4.67 million vehicles during the first half. Both companies released their numberslast week – and both companies have said in the past that they don’t care about the global sales leadership and are focusing on making profits. But the crown is a matter of corporate pride for both automakers.

Toyota’s production was hit by the quake and tsunami in northeastern Japan last year and then by flooding in Thailand, which is an important production base for the automaker.

Before those disasters, its sales were dented by massive U.S. recalls, totaling more than 14 million vehicles since the quality control problems emerged three years ago.

“Toyota’s rebound is impressive,” Chizuko Satsukawa, auto analyst for Standard & Poor’s in Tokyo.