- Title: JAPAN: Toyota boosts profit forecasts for start of year to March
- Date: 8th February 2012
- Summary: NAGOYA, JAPAN (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF TOYOTA CARS IN SHOWROOM
- Embargoed: 23rd February 2012 12:00
- Location: Japan, Japan
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Business,Industry,Transport
- Reuters ID: LVA3IZ7JJN8G2GUCEZABXY896EZS
- Story Text: Toyota Motor reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly operating profit on Tuesday (February 7) and raised its annual forecast on cost cuts and Japanese government subsidies, though this is still some way below analysts' expectations.
Widespread floods in Thailand late last year battered Toyota just as it was recovering from production lost to the earthquake in Japan in March.
The floods cost Toyota 240,000 vehicles in lost output worldwide, dragging 2011 global sales down by 6 percent and allowing General Motors Co and Volkswagen to overtake it in global vehicle sales.
Toyota now expects operating profit -- earnings from its core operations -- for the year to end-March of 270 billion yen ($3.5 billion U.S. dollars), up from a previous 200 billion yen.
"I believe the market for automobiles, in global terms, will probably end up doing better than last year," Toyota's Senior Managing Officer Takahiko Ijichi told a news conference in Tokyo.
Thailand's deadly floods last autumn came just as Japan's top automaker was beginning to ramp up production to recover the losses from Japan's earthquake in March.
Toyota has said production returned to normal at all of its factories except in Thailand.
But the auto maker's weakness remains its home market.
The yen's prolonged strength has made Toyota's exports less competitive. It exported 57 percent of the output produced in Japan, much of it at a loss.
"Our unconsolidated accounts took a knock from the exchange rates, and are in a slightly worse state than the consolidated figures."
Toyota's group performance, reflected by its consolidated profits, outperformed its Japanese parent this quarter, Ijichi said.
But at home, Toyota should benefit from the re-instatement of cash-for-clunkers subsidies and the extension of tax incentives on fuel-efficient cars, especially on hybrids and other cars that use new technologies.
Its newest Aqua hybrid received orders equivalent to 10 times the sales target in its first month.
Toyota has forecast a 21 percent jump in sales this calendar year to a record 9.58 million vehicles, including subsidiaries Daihatsu Motor Co and Hino Motors Ltd.
All its production plants, bar Thailand, are back in action.
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