• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Toyota sets 1.1m units 2015 delivery target

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This year, the Toyota Motor Corporation, the largest automaker globally aims to reach again an ambitious sales target of 1.1 million units of vehicles, which industry watchers say would translate to a 6.8% delivery rise worldwide.

Toyota Motor Corp is forecasting that its rising sales might reach only half the pace this year after last year’s target was impossible to achieve on slowing delivery rates seen during the last months of the year.

Reports say the Japanese automaker is pressured by its dealer sales network in China to provide compensation as the retailers incurred heavy losses because of lack-luster sales.

Japan’s top carmaker announced that its final 2014 tally reached only around 1.03 million vehicles in China, rising 12.5 percent from the figures recorded two years ago; well short of the forecast for more than 1.1 million.

Last year, Japanese carmakers operating in China, the world’s largest auto market were challenged from two directions, the second-biggest economy in the world had seen a slower development pace and mounting political tension between Beijing and Tokyo.

The overall Chinese auto market rose around 7 percent last year, with the growth figure from 2013 essentially halved. Toyota’s issues are now aggravated by last week’s letter from the China Automobile Dealers Association (CADA), speaking for more than 500 Toyota dealers, demanding 2.2 billion yuan (232 million pounds) in subsidies.

Meanwhile, Toyota is set to give away thousands of patents for its fuel-cell cars in an effort to encourage other car companies into the new industry.

The world’s largest carmaker said it will allow royalty-free use of about 5680 patent licences, including 1970 related to fuel-cell stacks and 3350 concerning fuel-cell system control technology.

The firm also said the free patent licences will include about 290 items related to high-pressure hydrogen tanks. The cost-free licences will be allowed “through the initial market introduction period” of fuel cell vehicles (FCV), which the company expects to last until about 2020.

Toyota will also open about 70 patent licences related to hydrogen stations – the equivalent of gas stands for internal combustion vehicles, and a vital link in the chain for drivers – indefinitely for manufacturers and operators.

“By allowing royalty-free use of FCV-related patent licences, Toyota is going one step further as it aims to promote the widespread use of FCVs and actively contribute to the realisation of a hydrogen-based society,” the carmaker said in a statement.

The notice came after last it rolled out the world’s first four-door Mirai sedan mass market fuel-cell car in Japan recently. The car – whose name means “future” in Japanese – will hit the US and some European countries, including Britain, Germany and Denmark, in 2015, Toyota has said.

It hopes to sell more than 3000 units of the car by end of 2017 in the United States, and up to 100 annually in Europe. Fuel-cell cars are seen as the Holy Grail of green cars as they are powered by a chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen, which produces nothing more harmful than water at the point of use.

But a limited driving range and lack of refuelling stations have hampered development of fuel-cell and their cousin, all-electric cars, which environmentalists say could play a vital role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and slowing global warming.

The car can travel about 650km without refuelling, some three times further than an electric car, and its tank can be filled in a few minutes like gasoline engine vehicles.