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Toyota profit jumps 5% on sales to North America, Europe

AP

Toyota Motor Corp. reported Tuesday a 5 percent jump in quarterly profit, outpacing expectations as vehicle sales grew in North America and Europe, offsetting a drop in Japan.

The maker of the Prius hybrid, Camry sedan and Lexus luxury model said April-June profit totaled ¥587.77 billion ($5.7 billion). Quarterly sales rose 2 percent to ¥6.39 trillion ($62.3 billion).

Both were better than projections by analysts surveyed by FactSet, who had expected a 1 percent increase in quarterly sales and a 12 percent drop in profit compared with a year earlier.

Toyota Managing Officer Takuo Sasaki credited cost-reduction efforts and a weak yen, which helps Japanese exporters such as Toyota, for the positive results.

But Toyota lowered its vehicle sales forecast for 2014, saying it now expects to sell 110,000 fewer worldwide than the plan announced in January. Even then, it will still reach the 10 million vehicle industry milestone at 10.22 million vehicles, up 2 percent from 2013.

For the first half of the year, Toyota remained the world’s top-selling automaker, although Volkswagen of Germany beat U.S. manufacturer General Motors to become No. 2 in global vehicle sales.

Toyota’s results outshine General Motors, which last month reported a $190 million profit for the April-June quarter after incurring $1.5 billion in recall expenses. The U.S. automaker is grappling with the cost of repairing nearly 30 million cars and setting aside compensation for crash victims.

For the latest quarter, Toyota’s vehicle sales dipped in Japan, where sales got artificially inflated ahead of the April 1 consumption tax hike as buyers sought to avoid the higher tax.

Vehicle sales also dropped in the rest of Asia but gained in North America, Europe, the Middle East, South America and Africa.

Toyota stuck to its financial forecasts for the fiscal year through March 2015 at a profit of ¥1.78 trillion ($17.4 billion), down 2 percent year-on-year, on ¥25.7 trillion ($251 billion) sales, unchanged from the previous year.

The weak yen was a perk for other Japanese automakers as well, including Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., which have both reported solid results.