Toyota to cut '09 sales plan by 7 pct -paper

TOKYO Sat Nov 15, 2008 9:54pm EST

TOKYO Nov 16 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), the world's biggest automaker, is expected to slash its global sales plan for 2009 to below 9 million vehicles, down at least 7 percent from its previous forecast, a newspaper said on Sunday.

Without citing sources, the local Chunichi Shimbun said sales would probably continue to deteriorate next year as the slump in vehicle demand spreads from the United States and Europe to emerging markets such as China.

Toyota, which shocked investors this month with a massive reduction to profit forecasts for this business year, has said it would announce updated sales projections at a year-end news conference late next month. [ID:nT27754]

In August, the maker of the Prius hybrid car had cut its group-wide sales forecast by almost 7 percent to 9.7 million vehicles from 10.4 million as high fuel prices hammered demand for large cars and pickup trucks in North America. [ID:nT6192]

Since then, tighter credit and deepening economic woes have hit demand in Europe beyond expectations, and slammed the brakes on rapid growth in China, India and Russia, among other markets.

The Toyota group, which includes minivehicle maker Daihatsu Motor Co (7262.T) and truck maker Hino Motors Ltd (7205.T), sold 9.3 million vehicles in 2007. Sales this year are widely expected to fall short of that as Toyota idles factories and reduces production in many markets.

With vehicle sales weakening, passenger car production in Japan is likely to fall below 10 million units in the fiscal year to March 31, 2009, marking the first drop in five years, the Nikkei business daily said on Sunday.

Domestic car production for April to September rose 6.0 percent to 4.95 million vehicles, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

In the latest sign of slowing sales, Japan's third-ranked Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) said on Friday it would reduce production in Japan by another 72,000 units. [ID:nT261951]

The Nikkei said the production cuts at automakers and parts suppliers were likely to lead to a loss of more than 10,000 jobs in Japan this business year. (Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)


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