Toyota currently has about 10 per cent of the global automotive market, ranking it third behind Ford, which has a 12.8 per cent share, and General Motors, which has a 14.9 per cent share.
The 15 per cent target could see Toyota become the world's dominant carmaker by the end of the decade if both US companies continue to lose share. Analysts point out, however, Toyota would need to almost double its production - currently about 5.1m vehicles - to reach its target, given the global vehicle market is expected to grow from last year's 57.5m units to about 65m units by 2010. Toyota officials admit their 15 per cent figure is only a target.
Toyota says it will shift to a structure supported by three profit bases - Japan, North America, and Europe. In its home market, Toyota already has more than 40 per cent market share, and in the United States its Camry is the country's best-selling passenger car. In Europe, it has defied the industry trend by recently increasing its manufacturing capacity. Toyota will also chase volume growth in emerging markets such as China and India.
It already has joint venture manufacturing operations in place in both markets that are expected to be producing more than 60,000 vehicles a year by 2003.
The strategy document hints mergers and acquisitions will form a part of the growth plan, funded by Toyota's $20bn of cash reserves. But sources say it is likely to concentrate on forging technology and business partnerships with rival manufacturers rather than by acquisition.