GENEVA: Toyota Motor Corp., chief executive officer Katsuaki Watanabe said his company, the fastest-growing carmaker in the US, won’t buy DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler arm or raise its stake in Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.
“We have no intention of acquiring or buying Chrysler,” Watanabe said on 5 March before opening of the Geneva International Motor Show. “There is nothing going on on that front.”
Watanabe’s comments underscored Toyota’s intention to stay out of the speculation over Chrysler’s future spurred by DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche’s comment on 14 February that “all options are on the table” for the unprofitable US automaker.
Toyota, the world’s second-largest automaker, would listen to a DaimlerChrysler approach about joint research, Watanabe said. “There may be more possibilities,” he said. “No one has approached us, but you can’t exclude such a possibility.”
Watanabe also dismissed the idea of buying more of Fuji Heavy, which makes Subaru-brand vehicles. Toyota City, Japan-based Toyota bought an 8.7% stake in Fuji Heavy in 2005 from General Motors Corp.
The two Japanese companies agreed to develop and build vehicles together. Toyota this year will start using Fuji Heavy’s Lafayette, Indiana, factory to make 100,000 Camry sedans a year. Tokyo-based Fuji Heavy plans to use Toyota’s gasoline- electric hybrid technology.
Watanabe reaffirmed Toyota’s worldwide sales goal of 9.34 million vehicles this year, up from 8.8 million in 2006. Tadashi Arashima, head of Toyota’s European unit, affirmed the target of selling 1.22 million vehicles in the region this year, a 9% increase.
New registrations of Toyota vehicles in western and central Europe jumped 21% in January to 82,404 units, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.
Toyota may pass GM as the world’s largest automaker this year.