It has been reported Toyota Motor Corp. President Fujio Cho on Monday (24/07/00) ruled out a withdrawal from production in Britain despite the strength of the pound that has slashed the automaker's earning power there.

Cho told a news conference that the firm's British complex "is the center of Europe for Toyota. I'm not considering withdrawing."

In an effort to overcome the strong pound, Toyota is planning to raise its local-content ratio in Britain and has upped the prices of some models.

Toyota's position is in contrast to that of Nissan Motor Co., whose president, Carlos Ghosn, has indicated his company may shift new investment to Spain from Britain.(related link.)

Touching on a plan to establish a holding company, he said Toyota continues to discuss such a move as a step toward cementing its group firms. "We are considering what is most important for our group in the midst of environment-friendly technology, the information technology (revolution) and cost-cutting efforts," Cho said.

Meanwhile, Toyota has revised upward its overseas vehicle sales projection for this year by about 4% from the original forecast last December to 3.35 million units, Cho said.

The projected yearly sales are 9% higher than the sales Toyota recorded in 1999, according to the company.

However, Toyota said it has left its domestic sales projection unchanged at 1.8 million units for this calendar year, 8% higher than the actual domestic sales in 1999.

"Vehicles have been selling well overseas, but there has not been a major change in circumstances at home," a spokesman said.