Toyota Motor president Fujio Cho has said the biggest Japanese automaker will continue expanding overseas production.

''Our principle is to produce (cars) where customers exist,'' Cho told Kyodo News. ''We will adhere to it even if our output increases.''

Kyodo noted that Toyota announced plans this week to boost its global production to 7.28 million vehicles in 2005, up 8% from 2004, reflecting brisk overseas sales. The output plan includes 3.54 million vehicles to be produced at overseas plants, up 14%.

While Toyota still produces more vehicles in Japan than abroad, Toyota executive vice president Kosuke Shiramizu told the news agency that overseas production is highly likely to match domestic output in 2007 and outnumber it thereafter.

Shiramizu also said domestic production is needed for the maintenance of core technologies, Kyodo News noted.

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