TOKYO, Oct. 18 (Kyodo) — Toyota Motor Corp. faces growing difficulties in achieving its global production target for this year of 10 million vehicles, dragged down by a sales plunge in China amid continuing anti-Japanese sentiment there due to a bilateral territorial row.
Production cuts at Toyota plants in China, including a mainstay in the Tianjin factory, are likely to continue for some time.
Toyota announced in August it plans to produce 10.05 million vehicles around the world in 2012, including output by group firms Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors Ltd.
Toyota's current output record is 9.49 million vehicles achieved in 2007 before the September 2008 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. In setting the goal for 2012, Toyota had envisioned sales increases in emerging economies.
Toyota earlier expected 2012 sales in China to reach 1 million vehicles, up 100,000 from 2011.
But the deterioration in Japan-China relations following Tokyo's nationalization last month of three of the five main Senkaku Islands led to boycotts of Japanese products in China, with Toyota's new car sales in September being halved from the year-before level to 44,100 vehicles. A recovery in sales is not in sight.
Toyota is expected to revise downward the production plan while curtailing plant operations in China from earlier this month. A senior company official voiced a pessimistic view, saying that without cuts in output, inventories would only pile up amid sluggish sales at present.