The Toyota group aims to sell 7.08 million vehicles globally in 2004, up 4% from its estimated volume for this year, Toyota said on Thursday, according to Dow Jones.

For this year, the Toyota group, including Daihatsu and Hino, estimates its combined global sales volume will total 6.78 million vehicles, up 10% from the previous year, the report said, and aims to sell 2.36 million vehicles in Japan, up 2% year on year.

Dow Jones noted that the group's upbeat sales projection follows the strong sales goal at Honda, which said on Wednesday it will aim to lift its car sales worldwide by 10% year on year in 2004 to 3.2 million.

Significantly, Dow Jones noted that the Toyota group's sales target will rival that of the world's second-biggest carmaker, Ford, whose group sold 6.97 million vehicles in 2002.

The report said the Toyota brand aims to sell 6.33 million vehicles globally next year, up 4% on year, and will go after domestic sales of 1.76 million vehicles, up 2%.

Toyota estimates its global and domestic sales will rise 10% and 3% to 6.07 million and 1.73 million cars, respectively, Dow Jones added.

The report said Daihatsu aims to increase its global and domestic sales 6% and 3% year on year to 670,000 and 560,000 cars, respectively, next year, while Hino expects its global and domestic sales to fall 2% and 14% to 80,000 and 40,000 vehicles, respectively.

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