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Europe car market to drop 30% this year: Toyota

    Japanese car maker Toyota Motor expects a 30% drop in the overall European car market this year, Vice President for Europe Thierry Dombreval said on the sidelines of the Geneva Motor Show.

“Our market forecast for greater Europe is for about 15 million (units) instead of about 21 million last year, which corresponds to a fall of 30%,” Dombreval said late Monday, referring to total sales for all car makers.

“We hope to gain market share with new products that will be launched in January, February and March, and which should help us conquer market share, but without compensating for the 30% drop in the available market,” he told AFP.

Toyota was marking the European launch of new versions of its Prius hybrid and Verso people carrier at the Geneva show, which opens to the public on Thursday.

The Japanese firm, the world’s biggest car maker, said earlier that it expects its global production to fall by about 12% in the next business year starting in April.

Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, has told its suppliers it will manufacture an estimated 6.2 million vehicles next year, down from 7.08 million this year, a spokeswoman said in Japan.

Dombreval said in Geneva that the company was not planning job cuts in Europe and is still counting on “six figure volume” on the continent in 2009 as well as a 6% market share against 5.3% last year.

The German market had proved to be exceptional in February, he added. Germany is offering owners of ageing vehicles incentives to scrap their vehicles if they buy a new car, in a bid to cushion the economic crisis. (The Economic Times)