Toyota to ship US-made cars to emerging mkts-media

TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T plans to prop up production at one of its under-utilised U.S. factories by exporting to the fast-growing markets of the Middle East and China, the Asahi Shimbun daily reported on Tuesday.

Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, will begin shipping the Sequoia large sport utility vehicle to the Middle East some time this year, and the Sienna minivan as early as 2010 to China and other markets, the paper said, without citing sources.

Both models are produced at Toyota’s Indiana factory.

A Toyota spokesman said the automaker was always looking for ways to best supply vehicles on a global basis but declined to comment on the report.

With demand for larger vehicles sliding in the United States due to rising fuel prices, Toyota has slowed down production indefinitely at its Indiana and Texas light trucks plants.

Toyota currently sells all vehicles built in the United States inside North America with the exception of the Avalon sedan, which it also exports to the Middle East. Last year, it shipped about 7,000 Avalons to the region.

Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim