By Andrew Ganz
Wednesday, Dec 26th, 2012 @ 8:58 am
 
With its massive unintended acceleration debacle officially behind it, Toyota is expecting to break a global sales record next year.

The Japanese automaker says that its sales - which include subsidiaries Hino Motors and Diahatsu - could top 9.91 million new cars in 2013, a gain over the 9.7 million it anticipates for 2012. Either way, Toyota should take the global sales crown two years in a row since it's on track to best General Motors and Volkswagen in 2012.

That growth will come from Toyota's overseas markets since the automaker is predicting a 15 percent slide in demand in its home market of Japan. Toyota's home market forecast is more pessimistic than that of most analysts, although all agree that the Japanese new car market will contract a bit because government-backed incentives promoting the purchase of fuel-efficient cars expired in September.

Globally, Toyota is predicting sales of 7.87 million new cars, an 8 percent increase. That should counter the 15 percent dip to 2.04 million expected in Japan.

One market that remains something of a mystery for Toyota is China, where an anti-Japanese sentiment spurred by a territorial dispute between the two countries has kept buyers out of showrooms. Though Toyota - and other Japanese automakers - have seen consumer interest increase over the last couple of months after it plummeted earlier this year, sales aren't likely to recover for a while. As a result, Toyota hasn't confirmed a sales target for the world's largest new car market.