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Toyota Expects Sales to Rise 5% in 2008

The automaker also estimates 6% sales growth for 2007, a figure that could put it ahead of rival GM.
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Toyota (TM) - Get Report said Tuesday that it expects to increase worldwide vehicle sales by 5% to 9.85 million in 2008.

That figure includes the company's Daihatsu and Hino units. Toyota estimates that total worldwide production also will rise by 5%, to 9.95 million vehicles.

In a

news release

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, Toyota also published expected results for all of 2007 and estimated worldwide sales of 9.36 million, up 6% from 2006.

The Japanese automaker is poised to overtake

GM

(GM) - Get Report

as the world's largest. The rivals have been running neck-and-neck for global sales leadership over the past year, but Toyota's 2007 sales could make it No. 1 on an annual basis for the first time,

The Wall Street Journal

noted. GM has yet to release estimated global sales for the past year, the

Journal

also noted.

Toyota shares ended Monday's session 15 cents lower at $107.25. GM shares lost 10 cents to close at $26.54.