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Toyota Sees Mild Recovery in US Auto Market

Toyota Motorsees an opportunity to increase sales through vehicle leasing as U.S. automakers pull back, Toyota U.S. sales chief said on Wednesday.

Bob Carter, group vice president of Toyota Motor U.S.A. Sales, said the automaker is committed to leasing in the U.S. market because record high residual values for its fuel-efficient cars and hybrids are offsetting falling values of large trucks and SUVs.

Toyota aims to maintain leasing at 15 to 18 percent of its U.S. sales, Carter told Reuters in an interview.

"That is a very good level for us," Carter said.

Carter said he expected the U.S. auto market to start a mild recovery in the fourth quarter and could come back close to the 16 million unit sale level in 2010.