Akio Toyoda, the president of car maker Toyota Motor Corp, said he is optimistic on the outlook for the current year, despite the major concerns of the industry, which are the strong yen, slowing demand in the U.S. and Europe’s public debt crisis.
“In the short run, the European economy and a possible slowdown in the recovery of the U.S. auto market is a concern,” Toyoda said in a speech delivered as chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.
He added that in Europe, where vehicle ownership is already very high, “the cycle that drivers replace their old cars may slow down”. Measures to avoid a major slowdown in the replacement cycle are however taken in each country, Toyoda said. “In emerging markets, demand itself is growing, so volume itself will still grow.”
Among longer-term concerns for the Japanese car industry, Toyoda named, besides the strong yen, factors like stricter fuel-emission standards, insufficient commercial partnerships, high taxes to be paid by both producers and car buyers and unstable energy supply.