SEOUL (AFP) — Japan's largest automaker Toyota Motor is considering selling Toyota-brand models in South Korea, the head of its local unit said Wednesday.
Ichiro Ogiso, chief executive officer of Toyota Korea, said the Japanese automaker is "definitely reviewing" the possibility of selling non-Lexus models in South Korea as demand surges for imported cars.
No decision has been made so far, Yonhap news agency quoted him as saying at a press conference to introduce a Lexus hybrid sedan the LS600hL to the local market.
Toyota currently sells only Lexus models in South Korea.
On Tuesday Japan's Nissan Motor said it will sell three mid-range models in South Korea late next year, following the successful launch of its Infiniti luxury marque two years ago.
Despite lingering resentment over Japan's brutal 1910-45 colonisation, its luxury auto brands are popular with wealthy Koreans.
Sales of imported cars are expected to grow 12 percent to 45,500 units this year, according to the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association.
It forecast that the figure would reach 70,000 by 2010.
South Korea has pledged to open up its auto market under a free trade pact with the United States which is awaiting legislative ratification. A planned pact with the European Union would open the door wider for European models.