Toyota Motor Corp is considering trimming its 2012 group-wide production plan by about 2% because of a drop in sales in China after a territorial row, a Japanese newspaper reported, but the company denied it had altered its target.
Asia’s top automaker may cut its calendar-year production forecast for 10.05mn vehicles by around 200,000 vehicles, the Mid-Japan Economist newspaper said on its website yesterday, without citing sources. The regional daily is based in central Japan, where Toyota’s headquarters is located.
“The figure cited in the report is not based on anything announced by us, and at this time there are no changes to the figures we presented earlier,” said Toyota spokeswoman Shino Yamada.
Tetsuro Ii, the chief executive officer of Commons Asset Management, said the shares rose because of a favourable dollar-yen exchange rate, and that investors do not see a big dent in the firm’s profits from the possible production cut.
“Because Toyota is very aware of the global slowdown at the moment, they’re trying hard to control their inventory and so they tend to put out very conservative estimates,” he said.
Toyota’s original production target, which includes output at Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors, would make Toyota the first automaker to produce more than 10mn vehicles in a year.
Showroom traffic and sales across China have plunged at Japanese car makers since mid-September when violent protests and calls for boycotts of Japanese products broke out in China over a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea.
Toyota and its two local Chinese partners saw sales drop 48.9% in September from a year earlier to 44,100 vehicles.
A source previously told Reuters that Toyota’s production cutbacks in China were likely to extend through November, a move that would almost certainly put the company’s goal of selling 1mn cars in China this year out of reach.
Toyota, whose sales in China accounted for about 12% of its total global vehicle sales in 2011, is less exposed to the world’s biggest auto market than rivals Nissan Motor Co and Honda Motor Co.