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Toyota Motor Corp., to fuel sales expansion further around the world, Friday vowed to maintain an unprecedented pace of capital spending -- well more than $10 billion each year -- over the next several years, putting pressure on Detroit and other rivals already struggling to cope with challenges from the Japanese auto maker.
Mitsuo Kino____a, a Toyota executive vice president, said that Toyota spent a record 1.55 trillion yen in capital expenditures last fiscal year ended March 31, and noted it expects to spend "roughly the same amount every year over the next several years."
Speaking at an investor meeting in New York, the Toyota executive said most of that capital spending will go toward adding manufacturing capacity, especially building new component and vehicle assembly plants around the world. ... In North America, for instance, Toyota plans to boost annual vehicle assembly capacity by 470,000 vehicles by the end of 2008, to about 2 million vehicles a year. It also has been looking for sites in the Midwest and the South, among other regions, to open a four-cylinder engine plant and add another vehicle assembly plant....
This year, the company is aiming to sell 2.46 million vehicles in the U.S. Its annual sales goal for North American including Canada and Mexico in 2007, meanwhile, is 2.64 million vehicles. Even as Toyota moves to make a nearly all-time-high level of capital spending, Mr. Kino____a said its profitability will not likely suffer. In fact, the company forecast its operating profit margin would likely improve to 10% over the medium to long term.
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