Toyota aims to unseat GM as No. 1

Toyota Motor Corp. is quickening its quest to unseat ailing rival General Motors Corp. as the world's biggest automaker and widen its lead over Ford Motor Co. with reported plans to boost overseas production by 40 percent to 5 million vehicles by 2008 and blueprints for higher output in North America.

The news comes just days after Ford announced drastic steps to remold into a smaller, more competitive company, slashing thousands of jobs and shuttering two plants to cut costs. Ford's overhaul was aired just as DaimlerChrysler said it would cut U.S. production through the rest of 2006 and follows big cutbacks at GM earlier this year.

Toyota, by contrast, is planning to increase overseas production by 40 percent of its 2005 level to 5 million vehicles by 2008, Japan's Nihon Keizai newspaper reported Sunday, without saying how it got the information. Houston Chronicle

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