Toyota’s growth likely to exceed ‘political’ forecast

Toyota Motor Corp., which builds vans, pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles in Princeton, isn’t likely to see its North American sales growth slow to only 1.6 percent this year, as it has predicted.

Rather, the Japanese automaker could grow five times that fast, say analysts quoted by Bloomberg.

Sales probably will slow from the 15 percent experienced last year, but still set a healthy pace on the continent, the analysts say.

Why the dour forecast? Probably to avoid gloating at a time domestic automakers are closing plants and laying off workers, thus avoiding a backlash from U.S. politicians who could impose higher tariffs on imported vehicles.

“Its outlook sales figure seems to be political,” said Koji Endo, a senior analyst at Credit Suisse Group in Tokyo.

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