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Toyota announced a 4% production target increase in 2007 to 9.42m vehicles, leading many to believe it will topple General Motors to become the world's largest auto manufacturer within the next calendar year. It is estimated GM will make 9.2m autos this year. GM has not provided a 2007 target, but it has been curtailing production as part of broader cost-cutting measures. Toyota-TM-1yr-chart-12-21-06 Toyota said it expects global sales to increase 6% next year to 9.34m units, led by overseas sales seen rising 8%, versus only 1% growth in its home market. Toyota's President Katsuaki Watanabe was modest about Toyota's growth commenting, "That's just what the results may be." Adding, "There will be no growth without quality." Toyota's stock continues to climb, trading at all-time high levels, gaining 1.56% in Tokyo to close at ¥7,800 ($131.76 ADR equiv. at ¥118.4/$1).
• Sources: Press release and year-end press conference video, Newsday-AP
• Related commentary: Ford's Internal Projections: Toyota Will Be #2 Within Months, Toyota: A Lesser Known Stock?, Toyota Versus GM/Ford: Classic Hedged Pair Trade, Japan Auto Exports Remain Robust
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Toyota (TM). Competitors: General Motors (GM), Ford (F), DaimlerChrysler (DCX), Honda (HMC), Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY). ETFs: iShares MSCI Japan Index (EWJ), iShares S&P/TOPIX 150 (ITF), BLDRS Asia 50 ADR Index (ADRA), BLDRS Developed Markets 100 ADR Index (ADRD)

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Source: Toyota To Become World's Largest Automaker in '07; Places Priority on Quality