Toyota Motor president Fujio Cho on Friday dismissed speculation that the world's third-biggest carmaker by sales may soon beat Ford out of the number two spot, Dow Jones reported.
 
"We can't even see Ford's back" yet, Cho reportedly said.

Nonetheless, as Dow Jones recalled, Toyota on Thursday said it and its two subsidiaries Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors together aim to boost sales by 4% to 7.08 million vehicles worldwide next year, and that would compare favourably with the 6.97 million vehicles Ford sold in 2002.

Dow Jones said Cho also ruled out the possibility that his company's expanding sales in the US could cause trade friction between Washington and Tokyo, as Toyota has been boosting local production there.

Toyota's sales in the US rose in November for the seventh consecutive month, with its sales for the first 11 months of the year up 6.5% on year, while it estimates its exports will rise 1% year on year in 2003 and fall 1% in 2004, the report added.