sees 2014 Europe sales at more than 865,000 units
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[March 04, 2014]
GENEVA (Reuters) — Toyota Motor Corp
<7203.T> expects to sell more than 865,000 vehicles in Europe this
year, up from 847,530 in 2013, helped by a gradually recovering
market and the popularity of its hybrid models, the head of its
European operations said on Monday.
Didier Leroy also said the company expects to grow its market share
in Europe from last year's 4.7 percent. Toyota still targets sales
in the region of 1 million by 2015, Leroy said, but added he would
not push to reach that target if it cannot be done profitably.
"We will not grow just for volume," Leroy told a media roundtable
before the opening of the Geneva auto show where the group will
unveil a new version of its Aygo city car. "If I can achieve
profitable growth by pushing to 1 million, I will."
Leroy also said he expected to boost Toyota's profitability in
Europe in the financial year to the end of March after operating
profit already jumped 56 percent to 327 million euros ($450.39
million) in the first nine months.
He said the weakness of the Russian ruble and the Turkish lira had a
"very negative" impact on his operations, but would not affect the
profitability target. He did not foresee any major improvements in
those two currencies anytime soon.
Leroy said the company was carefully monitoring the unfolding
situation in Ukraine and Russia, where the group sold 16,000 and
172,000 vehicles last year, respectively.
The Japanese carmaker counts 56 countries, including Israel and
Russia, as part of its European market, which Leroy expects to
"Everyone agrees that the second half of 2013 was already better and
2014 will continue the same trend," he said. "But it will be a very,
very slow recovery." He said growth in the region this year would be
driven by western Europe, while he expected central and eastern
Europe to be stable.
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Since 2010, Leroy has spearheaded a restructuring of Toyota's
European business while the automaker faced a safety crisis in the
United States and production halts after the March 2011 tsunami in
He expects sales and market share gains to be buoyed by new models,
further cost cuts and the increased popularity of hybrids, adding
Europe was already Toyota's fastest growing hybrid region.
"Last year, we sold more than 156,000 hybrids in Europe, which is
almost 20 percent of our sales," Leroy said.
Karl Schlicht, head of sales in Europe, later added that the
carmaker's hybrid versions of its Yaris and Auris model had "been a
breakthrough" for the group in the technology and helped boost sales
by being more traditional European designs and with a pricing that
came closer to the mainstream options.
($1 = 0.7260 euros)
(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; editing by
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