Toyota Motor aims to double sales in China to 2 mln vehicles in future

BEIJING, April 20 Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:10pm EDT

BEIJING, April 20 (Reuters) - Toyota aims to double auto sales in China to around 2 million vehicles a year in the future, a senior executive said on Sunday, as the top global car maker plays catchup to rivals, such as Volkswagen, in the world's largest auto market.

Toyota Motor Corp's Executive Vice President Yasumori Ihara, who made the comments during a news conference at the Beijing auto show, did not give a specific time frame for the target.

In 2013, Toyota sold 917,000 vehicles in China, up 9 percent from a year earlier, recovering from a sales plunge after September 2012 due to a diplomatic row between Japan and China over a set of isles. Its market share was at around 5 percent.

If Toyota is able to hit its sales target of 1.1 million vehicles or more this year, it would meet the objective of selling 1 million vehicles a year in China four years later than initially planned.

Toyota operates joint ventures in China with China FAW Group Corp and Guangzhou Automobile Group . (Reporting by Yoko Kuboya in BEIJING; Writing by Lee Chyen Yee)