Toyota Motor Corp. on Tuesday raised its expectations for the business year to March, saying it now forecasts group operating profit of ¥270 billion on the back of rebounding sales in the United States and Europe as well as its cost-cutting efforts.
The auto giant had forecast Dec. 9 that the profit would come to ¥200 billion. But the new outlook is still dimmer than the ¥468.2 billion profit for the year that ended last March, as the current business year was impacted by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami as well as last year’s Thai floods, which disrupted the supply of parts and forced the company to briefly suspend production.
The auto giant also expects a ¥200 billion group net profit on sales of ¥18.3 trillion, against a ¥180 billion net profit on sales of ¥18.2 trillion announced in December.
The Thai floods curbed sales of 240,000 vehicles and dampened profit by ¥110 billion in the business year through next month, while the Tohoku disasters cut sales by 150,000 units and pared profit by ¥160 billion, Toyota Senior Managing Officer Takahiko Ijichi said at a news conference.
Toyota is now expecting to sell 7.41 million units worldwide in the year, up from the previous forecast for 7.38 million units.
In the April-December period, Toyota reported a ¥117.1 billion group operating profit, down 72.3 percent from the same period last year, largely hit by the high yen as well as the March disasters and the record Thai floods.
The auto giant also logged a ¥162.5 billion net profit on ¥12.9 trillion in sales, against a ¥382.7 billion profit on ¥14.4 trillion in sales for the same period last year.
Ijichi also said Toyota is taking steps to import more auto parts to counter the soaring yen, which is eating into exporters’ profits.
The carmaker, known for its strong ties with domestic parts makers in the group, formed an internal committee last fall to look into boosting imports and held meetings with South Korean makers, Ijichi said.
“We are definitely moving forward to expand imported parts,” he said, adding that Toyota at the same time will keep tabs on how domestic parts makers revise their prices.