Toyota 'plans drop in production'

The world's biggest car manufacturer, Toyota, is ready to set a global vehicle production target of about 6.5 million vehicles for 2009, its lowest in six years, according to a Japanese newspaper.

The company refused to comment on the report by the Nikkei, Japan's top business daily paper. Toyota has cited the unprecedented drop in demand across the world for its failure to set a vehicle sales or production goal for this year.

As sales plummet, the firm is expected to suffer its first net loss since 1950 for the fiscal year to March, not only in the crucial US market but also Europe, Japan and several emerging economies.

In 2003, Toyota produced 6.1 million vehicles, which was the last time the car maker produced fewer than 6.5 million vehicles in a year.

The Nikkei claims Toyota will achieve normal inventory levels by May after stopping assembly lines on some days to reduce excess stock.

The manufacturer's production will increase in May compared with previous months, but such levels will still be far below the previous year's, it reported.

Toyota admitted this month that it expected a net loss of £2.6 billion for the fiscal year to March, joining a string of Japanese companies who are going into the red.

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