Toyota to raise output, buy batteries from Sanyo


June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 19, 2009 at 1:31 PM EDT

Toyota Motor has raised its production target for this year and plans to start buying batteries from Sanyo Electric to meet brisk demand for its hybrid vehicles, reports said Wednesday.

The world's largest automaker now aims to produce 5.95 million Toyota-brand vehicles in 2009, up from a previous goal of 5.8 million, the Nikkei business daily and other media reported without naming their sources.

Toyota is enjoying brisk demand for its remodelled Prius, which has been Japan's top-selling car in recent months as government incentives spur strong demand for fuel-efficient vehicles.

The Japanese giant will buy some 10,000 lithium-ion batteries a year from Sanyo from 2011 because its battery joint venture with Panasonic is having difficulty keeping up with strong demand, the Nikkei said.

Sanyo -- which is being bought by Panasonic -- now supplies nickel-metal hydride batteries to Honda Motor and US auto giant Ford. It also plans to supply lithium-ion batteries to Germany's Volkswagen.

A Toyota spokesman declined to comment on the reports, which sent Sanyo shares soaring more than 10 percent to 247 yen, while Toyota shares gained 0.2 percent to 4,050 yen, outperforming the wider market.

Toyota, which overtook US rival General Motors in 2008 as the world number one, has idled plants and slashed thousands of jobs as it tries to recover from its first annual loss in the year to March 2009.

Earlier this year it appointed Akio Toyoda as its new president, turning to the grandson of its founder to rescue it from its biggest ever crisis.

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