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1 INTRODUCTION Toyota is Japans biggest car company and the second largest in the world after General Motors It produces around eight million vehicles per year about a million fewer than the number produced by General Motors Toyota markets vehicles in over 160 countries The company dominates the market in Japan with about 45 of all new cars registered in 2004 being Toyotas Toyota also has entered in the uropean and North American market It has significant market shares in several fast-growing south-east Asian countries Toyota has factories all over the world manufacturing or assembling vehicles for local markets including its most popular model the Corolla Toyota has manufacturing or assembly plants in the United States Australia Canada Indonesia Poland South Africa Turkey the United Kingdom France Brazil and more recently India and Argentina Toyota New Zealand assembled vehicles until 1998 when it switched to importing cars from Japan and Australia Cars from these plants are often exported to other countries For example the South African-built Toyota Corolla is exported to Australia while the Australian-built Camry is exported in left hand drive to countries in the Middle East Between 1997 and 2000 the number one selling car in the US was the Toyota Camry It was dethroned in 2001 by the Honda Accord only to regain its place in 2002 with the introduction of a redesigned model 2 EXPANSION OF THE JAPANESE AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY Japans automobile export was the centre of trade resistance with the US and the European Community in the 1980s That was partly because Japanese manufacturers tried to reduce the conflict that they began local production Foreign direct investment to facilitate the local production had other virtues as well for the Japanese manufacturers it enabled them to avoid the risk of exchange rate fluctuation and to respond more directly to the needs of local markets For the host region of the investment it meant not only the creation of
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