GENEVA (Reuters) -- Toyota Motor Corp. expects the addition of at least 10 new hybrid models to help drive a rise in European sales to 1 million vehicles by 2013 or 2014, up about a quarter from last year, a top executive said.
Toyota Motor Europe President Didier Leroy also said the automaker would aim to boost sales in the region by 10 percent this year from the 808,000 sold in 2010 -- higher than the 7 percent gain that headquarters had forecast in December.
"Between 2013 to 2014, we must return to 1 million sales," Leroy, who became the first non-Japanese head of Toyota's European operations last June, told reporters on Monday on the eve of the Geneva auto show.
About 20 percent of those sales will likely be a hybrid car, he said, compared with 9 percent last year.
Toyota's European sales peaked at 1.2 million vehicles in 2007, before the financial crisis hit.
While Toyota's market share fell slightly, to 4.6 percent in Europe last year hit by the recall crisis, Leroy said earnings were improving faster than expected thanks to a more disciplined approach to costs and marketing.
In the October-December quarter, the European operations made a profit of 20 million euros ($27.5 million), reversing losses for the first time in about three years, he said.
"We want to have a profitable growth," he said. "Many of our competitors currently have one target in Europe: beat Toyota. This is part of the game. (But) we don't want to beat anybody; we just want to grow in a profitable way."