Toyota faces ¥100 billion second-half operating loss

Kyodo News

Toyota Motor Corp. is expected to report an operating loss of about ¥100 billion for the second half of the current fiscal year, sources said Saturday.

The expected downward revision in the October-March period, to be announced next month or later, stems from exacerbating declines in global auto sales and the yen’s continued appreciation against the dollar and euro, the sources said.

“(Toyota’s) global auto sales will be reduced about 1 million units from the projection made in November,” one of the sources said.

It will be the first time Toyota has reported a group net loss on a half-year basis since 1999, when the top Japanese automaker adopted U.S. accounting standards.

Toyota lowered its earnings estimates for the second half in early November.

At that time, Toyota anticipated a group net profit of ¥550 billion, down 68.0 percent from a year before, and an operating profit of ¥600 billion, down 73.6 percent, on sales of ¥23 trillion, down 12.5 percent.

With another downward revision, Toyota’s operating profit for the entire fiscal year to next March is expected to fall by around 80 percent from a year earlier, the sources said.

The November figures were revised downward from the initial estimates — a net profit of ¥1.25 trillion, an operating profit of ¥1.6 trillion and sales of ¥25 trillion.

In November, Toyota also cut its group global auto sales projection for fiscal 2008 to 8,240,000 units, down 673,000 units from the previous year.

Toyota’s group sales include vehicles sold by Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors Ltd.

Since then, Toyota has been experiencing a slump in sales of small vehicles, which had been relatively strong compared with those of larger vehicles.

Auto sales in emerging economies, which had been robust, have also weakened.

Japan’s 12 major automakers and truck makers plan to slash global production by more than 2 million units in fiscal 2008 through next March, according to a Kyodo News tally.

Toyota plans to unveil its group auto sales target for 2009 on Dec. 22, and is mulling cutting the target to between 8,000,000 to 8,500,000 units from the current approximately 9,700,000 units.

Toyota assumed a foreign-exchange rate of ¥100 against the dollar for the October-March period, but the dollar has fallen to around ¥90 due partly to concern about the ailing U.S. carmakers.

The dollar traded at ¥89.56-59 at 5 p.m. Friday in Tokyo after dropping at one point to a fresh 13-year-low at the lower ¥88 level earlier that day.

Every ¥1 appreciation against the dollar trims Toyota’s annual operating profit by about ¥40 billion.

Some analysts said Toyota may incur a group operating loss in fiscal 2009, which ends in March 2010, if demand for new automobiles remains sluggish in the United States and other major markets and the yen remains appreciated.

Honda cuts output

Honda Motor Co. has said it will reduce production in North America by an additional 119,000 units between December and March to cope with dwindling sales in the region.

The step will reduce Honda’s car production for fiscal 2008 through March 31 by 175,000 units from the initial plan to 1,293,000 units.

Honda has decided to adjust production levels in response to sluggish sales instead of cutting jobs.

The output reduction breaks down into 58,000 units in Ohio, 18,000 units in Alabama and 6,000 in Indiana, Honda said. In Canada, Honda will reduce production by 37,000 vehicles.

Honda said in November it will cut its output of large cars in North America by 90,000 units from the initial plan for fiscal 2008.