UPDATE 1-Toyota expects to meet annual China sales target despite July slip
(Recasts, adds details on annual target)
By Norihiko Shirouzu
BEIJING Aug 1 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp officials said the Japanese automaker and its two local joint-venture partners are on track to sell 900,000 vehicles in China this year, despite a 3.5-percent year-on-year fall in its China sales last month.
A senior executive and a midlevel official, speaking separately with Reuters on condition of anonymity, said that a dominant view inside Toyota's sales unit in China is that the company should be able to meet the sales objective for the year, as sales momentum should pick up in the second half of the year.
Toyota, which operates joint ventures in China with FAW Group and Guangzhou Automobile Group, is aiming to sell 900,000 vehicles in China this year, up 7.1 percent from 2012.
Toyota said on Thursday it and its two local joint-venture partners sold about 75,600 automobiles in China in July, down 3.5 percent from a year earlier.
That followed a 9 percent year-on-year increase in June and a 0.3 percent rise in May.
In the first seven months of this year, through the end of July, Toyota sold about 492,500 vehicles, down 5.4 percent from a year earlier.
The data reaffirm a slow but steady comeback by Toyota from the sales crisis that has battered its sales in the wake of a row between Beijing and Tokyo over disputed islands in the East China Sea. (Reporting By Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Jonathan Standing and Chris Gallagher)