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Toyota sales top GM’s during third quarter

Carmakers reap yen-weakening benefits of 'Abenomics'

Bloomberg

Toyota Motor Corp. outsold General Motors Co. and all other carmakers for the second time in three quarters, in the latest example of how Japan’s largest manufacturers are benefiting from “Abenomics.”

Toyota and its subsidiaries sold 2.5 million vehicles worldwide in the July-September period, up 2.8 percent from a year earlier, according to figures released Monday.

Third-quarter sales at U.S.-based GM, reported earlier this month, rose 5.5 percent to 2.4 million vehicles while the Volkswagen group boosted deliveries, excluding heavy trucks, to about 2.33 million, according to data from the companies.

Toyota’s recent success — analysts estimate it will post record profit this fiscal year — illustrates how Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policies that have weakened the yen are benefiting Japan’s exporters and helping revive an economy that’s been through three recessions in five years.

Large manufacturers are more confident than they’ve been since 2007, and share prices are near the highest in half a decade.

“In the past few months, Abenomics has pushed up sales of Japanese carmakers by weakening the yen,” said Yuuki Sakurai, president of Fukoku Capital Management Inc. “The selling prices of some Japanese cars in the U.S. have been lowered to make them more competitive.”

Toyota outsold GM in the first nine months of 2013, putting it on track to lead the industry for a second straight year. Toyota sold 7.41 million vehicles versus GM’s 7.25 million and VW’s 7.03 million, the companies said.

The yen has fallen about 11 percent against the dollar in 2013, creating a tailwind for Japanese brands as they face the most competitive lineup of vehicles from GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC in a generation.

Before Abe, the Japanese currency hobbled exporters for years, appreciating to a postwar high of 75.35 to the dollar in October 2011 from about 115 four years earlier. The yen began tumbling in late 2012 as polls showed Abe, who called for unprecedented monetary-easing policies that would weaken the currency, would be Japan’s next prime minister.

In the U.S., Toyota’s deliveries rose 12 percent in the July-September period, enough to outsell Ford for the first time in 15 quarters as the weaker yen gave the Japanese company room to offer higher incentives for its best-selling Camry model. Toyota sold 586,016 vehicles in the U.S. last quarter, second only to GM’s 697,113.

MMC to exit bailout

Jiji

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will exit the financial bailout process by the end of fiscal 2013 by buying back preferred shares from four support companies or converting them to common shares, according to sources.

Then the automaker plans to resume paying dividends on common shares for the first time in 16 years.

Mitsubishi Motors is slated to announce the exit from the bailout, which is being led by the four Mitsubishi group companies, on Nov. 5, as it also announces a new medium-term management plan, the sources said.

Facing an earnings downturn following the revelations of coverups of recall-meriting defects in 2000 and 2004, the automaker issued preferred shares, which have precedence over common shares in dividend payments, to the four companies in order to procure funds.

Some ¥380 billion in preferred shares owned by the four firms remain a drag on its resumption of common share dividend payments.