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Auto Sales Could Rebound Next Year: Toyota Exec

Auto sales could bounce back to the $12- to 13-million annual sales rate within a year, Toyota Motor's North American President Yoshi Inaba said Monday.

At a one-hour briefing in Washington, Inaba said it's Toyota's goal to be profitable in the North American region next year, and to do so, the company will assess its plant capacity to determine if there are any plants it should eliminate. Phil LeBeau reports.

The company will make a decision "as quickly as possible" on the fate of its California joint venture plant with General Motors, Inaba said.

GM is ending its joint venture with Toyota as part of its downsizing under bankruptcy. The plant currently makes the Pontiac Vibe station wagon for GM and the Corolla compact car and Tacoma pickup truck for Toyota.

Inaba also said Toyota has not made any decisions on its Mississippi plant. The facility was scheduled to start production in 2010, but that plan is on hold because of market conditions in the United States.

Inaba added that the auto industry should be prepared to see gas prices continue to rise.

AP contributed to this report