December 20, 2017 / 9:46 AM / 9 months ago

Toyota expects total sales to rise 1 pct to record high in 2018

TOKYO, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp expects its total vehicle sales to exceed this year’s record by a percent to hit 10.50 million units in 2018, as strong overseas business helps offset weak demand at home.

For 2017, it expects to sell 10.35 million units worldwide across its Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino brands, up 2 percent from a year ago when increased domestic sales helped it post the second-highest sales among global automakers.

Volkswagen AG, the world’s top automaker, has posted group sales of 9.38 million units for the eleven months to November, up 3.9 percent on the year.

Toyota, however, expects a 1 percent slide in global production to 10.40 million units next year, compared with 10.52 million this year, as it adjusts existing inventories.

While Toyota expects overseas sales to boost its global tally, it forecast a 5 percent slide in sales to 1.55 million units at home, where demand has been waning for more than two decades as the population rapidly ages and young people lose interest in car ownership.

Toyota aims to halve the number of car models it sells in Japan by 2025, although it has pledged to maintain sales of at least 1.5 million passenger cars annually in the country. (Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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