NEW YORK — Saying 2013 is “shaping up to be a great year for Toyota and the industry," Bob Carter, Toyota’s senior vice president of automotive operations, told attendees of last week’s J.P. Morgan Investor Conference that the Japanese OEM expects to retail more than 2.2 million units this year. Toyota originally projected a 1.8 million-unit year.

“At Toyota, we’re seeing growth in hybrids, small trucks, SUVs and retail sales — areas of strength for us — so we’re well positioned for another good year,” Carter said, as transcribed on Toyota’s website.

With the announcement of increasing sales expectations to 2.2 million units, Carter noted: “We’re already on track to hit that target. Through July, our three brands combined have sold over 1.3 million vehicles, up nearly 8 percent from a year ago.”

Carter cited several factors that contributed to Toyota’s growth, including its high shares in sales in the diverse markets across Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians. Other contributors, he said, were the various awards and recognition the brand has recently received for automotive excellence and safety, as well as the fuel-efficiency savings with Toyota’s vehicles.

He went on to acknowledge dealers’ commitment to the brand, noting that the carmaker’s dealers “have invested seven billion dollars to rebuild and upgrade their facilities to improve our customer experience and keep loyalty to our brands among the highest in the industry.”