Agence France-Presse reports that Toyota said on Thursday that it is aiming to win 10% of the Chinese market by selling up to 400,000 vehicles a year by 2008.

"In China we are banking on a market share in the order of 10%: 300,000 or 400,000 vehicles by around 2007-2008," Toyota president Fujio Cho told AFP.
"In the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese market is going to grow. We think it will reach four million vehicles," he said.

A late entrant to the Chinese market, Toyota took a big step towards catching up with its rivals in August by announcing a tie- up with local giant First Automotive Works to manufacture mid to high end sedans, mini-cars or minivans and sports utility vehicles.

At the time Cho said the joint venture was aiming at a 10% market share by 2010.

Cho declined to give specific targets for two other rapidly developing car markets, India and Russia, where the Japanese maker's sales are still poor.

"I think we still have a while to wait before we can put on a figure on our targets," he said.

In 10 to 15 years, Toyota hopes to be able to market fuel cell hybrid vehicles which produce lower greenhouse gas emissions "at a relatively modest price," in the three major markets.

"Everyone highlights the fact that when these countries, which have huge populations become fully motorised, it's going to pose a problem for oil reserves as well as the problem of environmental impact," he said.

Producing more environmentally-friendly cars as quickly as possible "is very important for the survival of our industry".

Cho also said Toyota was likely to make its first ever full-year profit on its European operations -- excluding vehicles imported from Japan -- in the year to March.

He noted that the carmaker had already achieved an "extremely modest" profit in Europe, where it produces three models -- Yaris, Corolla and Avensis -- in the six months to September.

"We think that that trend is going to continue and we will remain profitable in Europe for the second half of the current fiscal year, and that the full year will be profitable as a result," he said, according to the AFP report.