Toyota Motor Corp. says it wants to sell 9.8 million vehicles worldwide in 2008, which could place it above rival General Motors Corp. as the No.1 auto maker based on sales volume.

TMC President Katsuaki Watanabe, speaking to reporters at an event in Tokyo today, would not disclose what Toyota’s production volume will be in 2008 but says it will be slightly higher than the 9.8 million sales goal.

A report out earlier this week said Toyota would be increasing its overseas production by 40%, to 5 million units, by 2008.

“We are aiming for steady growth through strengthening all our operations,” he says of plans to improve Toyota’s quality control and slash costs.

In 2005, GM sold 9.2 million units worldwide, vs. Toyota’s 8.13 million.