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More than a turnaround, Toyota sees record-breaking sales in 2013

Despite the Japanese earthquake and tsunami which interrupted production in 2011, and massive safety-related recalls this year, Toyota Motor Corp. expects to finish 2012 with 9.7 million vehicle sales, more than ever before.

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Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda smiles as he shows a remodeled Crown sedan in Tokyo Dec. 25. Toyota expects to sell a record 9.7 million vehicles this year, bouncing back by 22 percent from a disaster-struck 2011.

Kyodo News/AP

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Toyota expects to sell a record 9.7 million vehicles this year, bouncing back by 22 percent from a disaster-struck 2011. It has set an even higher target of 9.91 million vehicles for 2013.

The numbers released this week underline Toyota Motor Corp.'s solid turnaround from supply disruptions caused by the earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan in 2011 that had hurt global production and sales.

They also underline the Japanese automaker's ambitions to move past the woes from massive recalls that began in 2009, especially in North America.

On Wednesday, Toyota said it reached a settlement of more than $1 billion to resolve hundreds of lawsuits from Toyota owners who said the value of their cars and trucks plunged after the recalls involving unintended acceleration problems in Toyota vehicles.

Under the settlement, which still needs approval from a U.S. district judge, Toyota will offer cash payments to people who sold vehicles or turned in leased vehicles between September 2009 and December 2010.

It will also retrofit about 3.2 million vehicles with a brake override system, which ensures a stop when the brakes are applied even if the gas pedal is depressed.

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