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Japanese carmakers bullish

The two main Japanese carmakers are bullish about 2003 vehicle sales. Honda today says it expects sales to be up 10 per cent to a record 3.1m. And yesterday Toyota said 2003 would see 6.5m unit sales – up 5 per cent.

Honda President Hiroyuki Yoshino said sales would be pushed by Asian orders, especially from China, but said he shared the other carmakers' pessimism about other marketing regions. He said he believes sales in the rest of the world would be flat.

Honda is set to raise its annual output at its Chinese joint venture to 240,000 units by spring 2004 from the present 50,000, and will invest another £50m in Guangzhou Honda Automobile.

Honda also plans to boost production in the US, Canada, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia .

Yesterday, rival Toyota Motor also predicted growth in spite of a weak global market. Fujio Cho, Toyota president pointed to continued sales success in the North American market and revealed that the carmaker is set to build a sixth SUV/trucks production site in the region.

He hinted at more modest growth on the 5 per cent market share it enjoys in Europe. He said the company's' European sales should reach its 800,000 units-a-year sales target by 2005.

Source: BBC News Online; Financial Times



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