DEARBORN, Michigan: Bullish Toyota Motor expects its sales in the US to climb 5.5% in 2007 - not quite the spectacular 13% growth it experienced last year, but still of major concern to its struggling Detroit rivals.

The redesigned Tundra pick-up truck is expected to lead the way, according to Toyota's American sales evp Jim Lentz.

In addition, greater availability of gasoline-electric hybrids such as the A-list celebrity favourite Prius and a hybrid version of the Camry will help sales expand even as the overall market is likely to be flat or contract slightly.

Lentz told the Automotive World Congress conference that he expected 2007 to be "calm before the storm of enormous new growth in our industry".

He offered words of comfort to General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Chrysler, saying he believed they would take "bold steps" and would bounce back.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff