NAGOYA: The world's largest automaker by sales, Toyota Motor Corporation, predicts that group sales will fall to just over 7 million units worldwide during the forthcoming fiscal year.

This is more than 20% down on the peak scaled in fiscal 2007, and 7% below the level forecast for fiscal 2008. The problem is exacerbated by Toyota's global output capacity of slightly below 10 million vehicles.

This, in the light of the new sales forecast, means a supply glut of more than 2m units next fiscal year.

By the end of December 2008, the company's US sales were 36% down year-on-year. European sales fared slightly better but fell 26%. Although Toyota expects global sales to stage a recovery by the fall, it is readying itself for an austere interim.

Layoffs and salary cuts in North America and the UK are currently under scrutiny.

Data sourced from NikkeiNet Interactive (Japan); additional content by WARC staff