Toyota to Boost Japan Output of Lexus Cars

Toyota Motor will boost production capacity for its Lexus luxury cars in Japan by about 35 percent in 2009 to meet growing demand in emerging countries such as Russia and China, the Nikkei business daily reported on Wednesday.

David Zalubowski

Japan's largest automaker will increase annual output capacity to about 850,000 cars in 2009 by adding equipment at two domestic plants, the newspaper said. The plants in Aichi and Fukuoka prefectures currently have a combined capacity of 600,000 cars a year.

A spokeswoman said the company was checking the report.

Toyota, like domestic rivals Honda Motor and Nissan Motor, has a basic policy of building vehicles where they are sold, but all three carmakers manufacture their luxury cars in Japan. The sole exception is Toyota's Canadian plant, which builds some Lexus RX sport utility vehicles.

Toyota has not officially disclosed any plans to boost its domestic capacity from the current 3.8 million vehicles, but executives have said rising demand for Lexus cars in emerging markets would likely necessitate an expansion.

Toyota sold 518,300 Lexus cars globally last year, up 9 percent from 2006.

The Nikkei also said Toyota had set an internal goal of producing 11.3 million vehicles globally in 2012, excluding its units Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors. That would represent a rise of more than 30 percent from 2007.

Toyota denied having set that target. Last year, it announced a goal of increasing global sales to about 10.4 million vehicles in 2009 including Daihatsu and Hino.