Toyota expects sales to grow 3% in ’08

Despite a shaky U.S. economy and the prospects of slower auto sales through the first half of 2008, a top Toyota Motor Corp. sales executive said the automaker expects its U.S. sales to grow another 3% next year.

Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales, also said Toyota expects to come close to its goal of selling 200,000 Tundra full-size pickups this year, even though that will require selling almost 23,000 this month.

Lentz, appointed in November, said Toyota expected the industry to sell about 16.1 million cars and light trucks this year in the United States, a decline of about 2.5% from last year's total of 16.5 million, because of the collapse of the housing market, high oil prices and the decision by Detroit automakers to limit sales to rental fleets.

"It feels like it's going to be around the same as this year," Lentz told reporters at an event in Washington. "It's a relatively challenging industry." Detroit Free Press

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