Toyota Forecasts 25 Percent Gain in North American Sales, Expands U.S. Engine Capacity

After a financial year in which it suffered serious losses due in part to natural disasters in Asia, Toyota expects that in fiscal year 2013 its sales volume will grow 25 percent in North America, and 18 percent worldwide. The predictions were revealed as Toyota shared its fiscal-year 2012 results, which saw the automaker take heavy losses in the first quarter. Net income for the year was down 30.5 percent compared to 2011, to 283.5 billion yen (about $3.6 billion). "Certainly the last fiscal year was extremely challenging due to the natural disasters in Japan and Thailand, plus the unprecedented strength of the yen," Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said in a statement. The company, however, is forecasting extremely strong growth for this year. Globally, Toyota sold 7.35 million vehicles last year, and 1.87 million in North America. For fiscal-year 2013, the automaker expects global sales to rise 18 percent to 8.7 million vehicles, and North American sales to jump 25 percent to 2.35 million vehicles. Doing so would approach Toyota's global sales record of 8.91 million vehicles, which was set in fiscal-year 2008. U.S. sales should account for Toyota's largest share of growth and profits this year, predicted to make up more than a quarter of all the company's sales. Toyota also predicts that global net income for 2013 will more than double to 760 billion yen (about $9.6 billion). Toyota also announced plans to further increase production capacity in the U.S. The company’s plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, will receive an investment of about $30 million to add 80 jobs and increase annual engine capacity by 100,000 units. That will raise Toyota's total U.S. engine capacity to 1.2 million per year. The Georgetown plant currently builds engines for models of the Toyota Avalon, Camry, and Venza built in Kentucky. The extra capacity will provide a bigger supply of engines for Camry, Camry hybrid, and RAV4 models built in Woodstock, Ontario. The production increase will start August 2013. Sources: Toyota, Automotive News

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