Toyota says it has completely recovered from last year's tsunami-induced losses, expecting an expansion in Europe this year. The comments come as automakers gather for the Geneva International Motor Show.
Japanese carmaker Toyota foresees higher sales in Europe this year despite a shrinking market on the continent, its regional CEO said, as the Geneva International Motor Show opened to the press on Tuesday.
Toyota Europe CEO Didier Leroy said the company expects to sell 835,000 cars in 56 European markets this year, taking 4.5 percent of the market share. That's a slight increase from 4.2 percent of the market with sales of 822,000 last year.
Leroy also told journalists that Toyota had "definitely" recovered from the devastation caused by an earthquake and tsunami in Japan nearly one year ago.
"We don't have any shortages any more, no supply problems any more," Leroy said, adding that Toyota would return to growth in Europe "in a profitable way." He said he hopes to reach sales of one million in the next two to three years.
GM won't abandon European brands
Meanwhile American auto giant General Motors insisted it was dedicated to its European branches Opel and Vauxhall, rejecting speculation that it would sell off the brands.
"Any talk of insolvency should be off the table, any talk that we are not committed to Europe should be off the table," GM vice president Stephen Girsky told reporters at the motor show on Tuesday. "There is no debate whether the Vauxhall name is important or not. We know it is very important and we have no plans to walk away from it."
Girsky added that GM would continue talks with the German and British governments on the future of the car brands, which have been hit hard by the economic crisis in Europe.
The Detroit-based company last month reported an all-time record of $9.19 billion (seven billion euros) in profits last year. However the earnings came largely from the North American and Asian markets, while Europe lost some $750 million.
acb/pfd (AP, AFP)