As yen sweetens, Toyota sales sour

Being Toyota doesn't grant you any additional immunity from simple global economics. Word from Tokuichi Uranishi, executive vice president of Toyota, is that one of the world's largest automakers is going to miss its sales target of 9.85 million vehicles for 2008.

Toyota execs cite slowing sales in the United States, Europe, and Japan as a primary factor. In addition, rising raw material costs are hurting the global automaker, which assembled 9.37 million vehicles in 2007. To top it off, a yen that hit a 13-year high against the dollar at the beginning of this week is cutting profits on exports from Japan.

It may be up to China, Russia, and Korea to pick up some of the slack. Those emerging Asian markets are active, and Toyota is looking at them for future growth. In a move towards achieving that goal, the Prius, Camry, and RAV4 sports-utility will be introduced in South Korea shortly. Sales are expected to be just 500 units per month initially, and then increase to upwards of 1,000 a month.

[Source: Automotive News, subs req'd]

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