Toyota Motor Corp. (search) is preparing to raise prices of its new cars in the United States by an average 2 percent to 3 percent in October out of consideration to its struggling U.S. rivals, the Asahi daily said on Friday.

A Toyota spokesman said the auto maker has not yet decided to raise U.S. prices, adding it is still looking at such factors as the competitive environment, costs and profit.

The newspaper said Japan's top auto maker is preparing to lift prices for almost all its new cars sold in the United States. The move would also reflect higher raw material costs and a cut in sales incentives, it said.

To help restore health to U.S. auto industry and out of fear of a possible U.S. political backlash, Toyota Chairman Hiroshi Okuda (search) has said repeatedly for the past two months that Toyota should think about ways in which it could aid U.S. auto makers -- such as by raising product prices.

Japanese brands collectively grabbed a record 30 percent share of the U.S. auto market last year, but U.S. automakers such as General Motors Corp. (GM) and Ford Motor Co. (F) are struggling with sliding sales and massive health-care costs.

U.S. car prices are typically set higher when new models are introduced each year. But the rates of increase would be much steeper when cars undergo full-model changes every few years, the Toyota spokesman said.