BEIJING — Toyota Motor Corp. said on Thursday it sold 1.8 million vehicles last year in China, up 11 percent from a year earlier, narrowing the gap with Volkswagen Group and General Motors in the world’s biggest car market.
In China, an increasingly important market for top Japanese automaker Toyota, the company has partnerships with FAW and GAC and is adding new assembly plants for electric vehicles to meet government requirements.
It also sold 223,700 imported premium Lexus vehicles in China, an increase of 12 percent from 2019.
Auto sales slumped in the first months of last year as the Chinese government implemented travel restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus. But overall sales recovered in the second half and China’s auto industry now expects sales to have declined just 1.9 percent last year.
Toyota did not release a sales target for China this year in the statement. Rival GM sold 2.9 million vehicles last year in China, down 6.2 percent compared with 2019. Volkswagen, which sold more than 3 million vehicles in 2019, has not released 2020 China sales data.
The Japanese company has also launched a new joint venture for hydrogen fuel cell systems with several Chinese automakers.
It is also developing autonomous driving technologies with startup Pony.ai.