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Toyota China sales down 20.9 percent in March

Toyota and its two Chinese joint ventures GAC-Toyota and FAW-Toyota sold about 71,500 vehicles in China in March, down 20.9 percent from a year earlier, according to information from the Japanese automaker.

Toyota announced that the results amounted to what a company spokesman called a surprisingly weak showing by Japan’s top automaker in the world’s largest auto market.

Takanori Yokoi, a Beijing-based Toyota spokesman, said the newly redesigned Corolla and Levin models sold well during March, but sales of both the RAV4 crossover SUV and the Vios compact car were particularly disappointing. Yokoi blamed the big year-on-year slide in March sales mostly on the fierce competition those two car models faced in China.

Toyota sold about 227,700 vehicles in the first quarter, a 0.1 percent decrease from the previous year. It aims to sell 1.1 million vehicles in China in 2015, after failing to clear that sales level and meet last year’s target. That means its expected growth rate in China would almost halve this year to 6.8 percent.

The Japanese company sold about 1.03 million vehicles in China last year, up 12.5 percent from 2013.

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