NAGOYA, Japan – Toyota plans to sell 9.85million vehicles worldwide in 2008, the company said Tuesday, setting an ambitious target despite worries about a slowing U.S. car market, as it tries to become the world’s top automaker. Toyota, which has its U.S. sales base in Torrance, also said it plans to produce 9.95million vehicles worldwide next year, up 5 percent from this year – the same as the projected annual percentage jump for Toyota’s global sales. Its recent growth has put Toyota Motor Corp. on track to beat U.S.-based General Motors to become the world’s largest automaker by sales. GM has said it estimates this year’s sales to total 9.3 million vehicles, against Toyota’s estimate of 9.36 million sales. Toyota’s growth been based in large part on the popularity of models such as the Camry sedan, Corolla subcompact and the Prius gas-electric hybrid. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonSoaring gas prices have dramatically boosted the appeal of smaller, fuel-efficient models that are Toyota’s main strength. General Motors has been fiercely fighting back, boosting its overseas business, and could still keep the top industry spot, which it has held for 76 years. GM has not given a forecast for the number of vehicles it expects to produce or sell in 2008. The Detroit automaker has the industry record for annual global vehicle sales, with the 9.55million vehicles sold by GM in 1978. Toyota executives acknowledged Tuesday that they have worries about the U.S. market, which has been hit by the subprime mortgage crisis and soaring oil prices. But they nonetheless projected increasing U.S. sales by 1 percent to 2.64 million vehicles.
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