We’re surprised it took so long. Toyota’s data for the first 11 months of 2009 show that sales in Asia (excluding Japan) is set to overtake domestic sales for the first time this year. Toyota sold 1,354,000 units in Asia from January to November 2009, an year-on-year increase of 4.5%, compared to 1,256,000 vehicles in Japan. This makes Asia the second-largest market for Toyota in 2009 after North America (1,770,000 units).

The growth in Asia is spearheaded by a 20.7% increase in China to 622,000 units. Sources say that this will grow to 700,000 units for the entire year. November’s data also showed recovery in India, Thailand and Vietnam, it added.

This revelation isn’t shocking. Asia sales count growing markets such as India and China as well as the ASEAN region, while the Japanese auto market is saturated. Although it’s unlikely, but we can wish that with our newfound strength in numbers, Toyota will be less stingy with their JDM models and achieve better volume by exporting them to more sophisticated markets within Asia. The bulk of the figures will be borne by bread and butter models like the Camry, Corolla and Vios, as well as the IMV spin offs (Hilux, Innova, Fortuner), but I’m sure there will be takers for their Japan-only models. Just look at the amount of grey import Toyotas on the road!

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