Toyota will close 300 dealerships across Japan image

After the company lost the position of being the first automaker, Toyota is planning to close some 300 dealerships across Japan over the next three years amid a shrinking domestic market, according to local media reports.

Toyota (TM), which has 4,000 dealerships nationwide, expects its second straight year of losses for the fiscal year through March 2010. It managed a better-than-expected profit for Q2 and recently trimmed its projected loss for the year to $2.2 bil, less than half of the $5 bil loss expected earlier.

The affected sales companies will select which outlets to consolidate or close based on sales and demand. However, the report notes that this does not automatically condemn outlets located in sparsely populated areas with low levels of demand – dealer outlets also provide vehicle repairs and maintenance, making these locations essential to many owners.