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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 July, 2004, 06:10 GMT 07:10 UK
Overseas boom boosts Toyota sales
Lexus showroom
Toyota's brands are doing particularly well overseas
Japanese carmaker Toyota is raising its worldwide target for vehicles sales by 9% as demand soars in overseas markets.

The car firm, the largest in Asia, said it expected to sell 7.39 million units in 2004, up from the 7.08 million it had previously expected.

Most of the growth is from outside Japan, where both the Toyota brand itself and marques such as Daihatsu and the luxury Lexus are proving popular.

But the domestic market was slower, with Toyota raising targets by only 3%.

Number two

Taking subsidiary brands into account, the Japanese group overtook Ford Motor last year to become the second biggest carmaker in the world behind GM.

It is aiming to raise its share of the global market to 15% within a decade from its current 12%.

The growth overseas - with predicted sales rising 12% for the group as a whole to 5.01 million vehicles - comes even in markets such as Europe, where overall car sales are stagnant.

In the year to date, Toyota said, European sales were up 15% to half a million units, with US sales up 10%.

At home the picture was less rosy, with a drop in sales of 1.5% - albeit set against a rather sharper decline for the car market overall.

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