Toyota Motor aims to increase sales in China by 8 percent this year

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Toyota Motor aims to increase vehicle sales in China by 8 percent to 1.6 million this year, the Japanese automaker stated on Friday.

Toyota sold 1.47 million vehicles in China in 2018, increased 14.3 percent from 2017.

Automaker’s forecast comes at a time when automakers in China in general are preparing for a difficult year after weakness in sales emerged in 2018.

China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) stated this month that it expects sales to show no increase, forecasting flat sales of 28.1 million vehicles for this year. Other government and industry bodies observe a 0-2 percent growth in total demand.

China’s automotive market in 2018 contracted for the first time since the 1990s.

Regardless of the slowdown in the overall market, sales by Japanese companies especially Toyota are still strong.

Last year China and Japan pledged to forge closer ties during a three-day visit in October to Beijing by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, signing a wide range of agreements including a $30 billion currency swap pact, amid rising trade tensions with the US.

During Abe’s visit Chinese President Xi Jinping stated bilateral ties had returned to the right track and China would make sure that the positive momentum continues, state media reported.

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