Toyota may trim 2012 output plan on China row: paper

Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:16pm EDT
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TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote) is considering trimming its 2012 group-wide production plan by about 2 percent because of a drop in sales in China after a territorial row, a Japanese newspaper reported, but the company denied it had altered its target.

Asia's top automaker may cut its calendar-year production forecast for 10.05 million vehicles by around 200,000 vehicles, the Mid-Japan Economist newspaper said on its website on Thursday, without citing sources. The regional daily is based in central Japan, where Toyota's headquarters is located.

"The figure cited in the report is not based on anything announced by us, and at this time there are no changes to the figures we presented earlier," said Toyota spokeswoman Shino Yamada.

Shares in Toyota had risen 1.8 percent as of 0204 GMT to 3,115 yen, outperforming the Nikkei .N225 index, which was up 1.26 percent.

Tetsuro Ii, the Chief Executive Officer of Commons Asset Management, said the shares rose because of a favorable dollar-yen exchange rate, and that investors do not see a big dent in the firm's profits from the possible production cut.

"Because Toyota is very aware of the global slowdown at the moment, they're trying hard to control their inventory and so they tend to put out very conservative estimates," he said.

The yen, which has been trading recently in the 78-yen range against the dollar, weakened to about 79.1 yen in morning trade. A strong yen makes it more expensive for Japanese automakers to export cars from Japan.

Toyota's original production target, which includes output at Daihatsu Motor 7262.T and Hino Motors (7205.T: Quote), would make Toyota the first automaker to produce more than 10 million vehicles in a year.

Showroom traffic and sales across China have plunged at Japanese car makers since mid-September when violent protests and calls for boycotts of Japanese products broke out in China over a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea.   Continued...