BEIJING, June 3 (Reuters) - Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp and its two local joint-venture partners sold a total of 81,136 automobiles in China in May on a preliminary estimated basis, up roughly 3 percent from a year earlier, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
That compares to 79,000 vehicles it sold in May 2013. Toyota’s sales in China rose 12.4 percent in April and 19 percent in March.
During the first five months of the year, Japan’s biggest automaker sold a total of 394,902 vehicles, up 16 percent from a year earlier, the sources said.
Toyota is scheduled to officially announce its overall China sales for May later on Tuesday.
A China-based Toyota spokesman declined to comment.
The sources said the pace of growth slowed in May chiefly because sales of the Corolla, a major product for Toyota’s manufacturing and sales joint venture with China FAW Group Corp, fell sharply ahead of the planned launch of a redesigned version of the Corolla this summer. They didn’t elaborate on specific reasons for the slowdown.
Overall, however, they said Toyota is on track to be able to sell more than 1.1 million vehicles in China this year - a target the company set at the outset of the year. The company first targeted sales of 1 million vehicles a year in China in 2010.
Last year, Toyota sold 917,500 vehicles in China.
Toyota operates joint ventures in China with FAW Group and Guangzhou Automobile Group. (Reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Kazunori Takada and Kenneth Maxwell)