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Friday Dec. 22 - A Landmark Day For Toyota

Today will be remembered as a landmark day in the automotive world. As CNBC first told you yesterday, Toyota will be taking the top spot in world wide sales next year, ahead of General Motors. CNBC’s Phil LeBeau has been following developments.

LeBeau said, “ Keep in mind technically Toyota is not #1 in the world yet. The company’s forecast for 2007 puts them at 9.4 million vehicles -- that’s ahead of GM. (GM doesn’t release a forecast but most believe they’re going to build about 9.1 million)

Here are Toyota’s Growth Estimates for 2007:

Globally up 4%

Operating profit up 10%

New North American plant?
(With sales growing at this pace Toyota will likely need another factory)

Michael Robinet of CSM Marketing said, “I think where you’re going to see Toyota proliferate in the future is in the emerging markets and also on the luxury side. They’re going to press hard because they want to go after the baby boomer." (The boomers have been turning to Toyota’s Lexus brand.)

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