Toyota plans push for more sales in Brazil, Mexico

DETROIT, Michigan AFP) - Toyota said Wednesday that it plans a new push to boost its market share in Latin America, saying it underperforms in Brazil and Mexico, the region's largest economies.

Mr Mark Hogan, former president of Magna International and former General Motors executive, who became the first American to serve on Toyota's board of directors on June 1, told reporters that Toyota needs to expand its footprint in the two countries.

"Toyota is an extremely strong brand in Brazil but it underperforms in the market," Mr Hogan told reporters during a Toyota press event. "We only have an about 5 per cent market share. It should be higher," he said.

"Brazil is a very important market for Toyota," added Mr Hogan, who said one of his assignments as a new board member is to expand the company's foothold in Latin America.

Toyota needs more production capacity in Brazil as well as in Mexico, said Mr Hogan, who worked in Brazil when he was with GM.

"We also need a new entry level product in Brazil," he added. Toyota is now building its third assembly plant in Brazil.

He said the company in addition needs more capacity in Mexico, where its market share is also about 5 per cent.

"We have a terrific dealer body but we also underperform in Mexico," added Mr Hogan.

Toyota also has entered into partnership with Japanese carmaker Mazda to open a new assembly plant in San Luis Petosi, Mexico, in 2014, he said.

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