Toyota has again revised its 2004 European sales target figure – this time from 860,000 to over 900,000 units following record sales in the first eight months of the year.

The company has also revealed the name of the new small car to be produced at the joint venture plant with PSA Peugeot Citroën in the Czech Republic.

To be called the Toyota Aygo, the new model will increase Toyota’s production capacity in Europe by 100,000 units when it comes on stream in 2005.

“This new car, which will be positioned below Yaris, is an exciting and dynamic addition to our range,” said Thierry Dombreval, executive vice-president and COO of Toyota Motor Marketing Europe, at the Paris motor show.

“It will offer an engaging driving experience in the urban environment and will appeal to young adults who want the joy of driving but also want the superior quality and reliability that only a Toyota offers.”

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The Aygo name is a play on the words ‘I’ and ‘go’ which together reflect the aspirations of the car’s target market.

Toyota’s new European sales target follows record sales for the period January to August, with 628,664 units sold, up 12% on 2003. The 900,000 target is also substantially above 2003 full year sales of 835,000 and the increase will be supported by expanding localised production.

From 2005, Toyota will have a total of eight manufacturing plants in six different countries throughout Europe – including the PSA Peugeot Citroën joint-venture in Kolin, Czech Republic.

Speaking on the eve of the Paris show, Takis Athanasopoulos, executive vice-president of Toyota Motor Europe said: “We expect to exceed the 900,000-unit sales mark this year. This means Toyota will enjoy its eighth consecutive year of record sales in Europe, and bring us a step closer to our 2010 challenge of 1.2 million units in annual sales in Europe.”

He added: “Our expanding manufacturing network and capacity in Europe will also play a key role in ensuring our continued growth.”

Having announced production capacity increases at plants in the UK, France and Turkey earlier this year, Toyota’s current maximum vehicle production capacity is 675,000 units. This will increase to 775,000 units when production of the small car with PSA Peugeot Citroën begins in 2005. The company’s manufacturing operations will celebrate the 2.5 millionth vehicle produced in Europe in October.

Toyota estimates that in 2004 it will build 565,000 vehicles, up 21% compared to 2003; 466,000 engines, up 8%; and 198,000 transmissions, up 69%.

For the January to August period, UK-built Avensis sales rose 48% to 104,613 units; sales of the mostly French-built Yaris increased 8% to 158,822 units; mostly UK- and Turkish-built Corolla sales rose by 5% to 126,783 units and Turkish-built Corolla Verso sales increased 16% to 37,223 units.

Toyota claimed to be top brand in the European SUV segment in the January to August period: RAV4 sales increased 5%, with 75,409 units sold, and Land Cruiser sales rose 8% to 28,170 units.