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Toyota Motor Corp. announced Monday that its consolidated pretax profits jumped 14.5 percent from last year to a record 1.113 trillion yen during the 2001 business year, becoming the first Japanese company ever to post pretax profits exceeding 1 trillion yen.

The top domestic automaker also posted records in group profits and sales, thanks to its cost reduction efforts, favorable sales in the North American markets as well as the weakened yen.

For the business year that ended March 31, Toyota’s consolidated operating profits jumped 29.1 percent from last year to a record 1.123 trillion yen.

Toyota’s operating profits are the largest for a Japanese company, surpassing NTT DoCoMo Inc.’s 1.003 trillion yen for the year ended March 31.

“Our efforts to establish the production and sales system from a global perspective since the 1980s are now achieving greater results, as we approach our worldwide total production and sales goal of 6 million units,” Toyota President Fujio Cho said in a prepared statement.

Toyota’s group net profits increased 30.7 percent from a year earlier to its record of 615.8 billion yen.

Consolidated sales of Toyota, which owns small-car maker Daihatsu Motor Co. and truck maker Hino Motors Ltd., leaped 12.5 percent to a record 15.1 trillion yen, the firm said.

Toyota said its annual dividend will be 28 yen a share, up 3 yen from a year earlier.

During 2001, the firm’s group total sales volume was 5.784 million units worldwide, up 4.7 percent from last year.

In the domestic market, Toyota sold 2.217 million cars, down 4.6 percent from last year. Toyota’s share in the domestic market was 42.2 percent. The market share figure excludes minicars with engine displacement of up to 660cc.

Although its domestic market share declined by 0.9 points over last year, Toyota said it has been keeping over 40 percent market share in Japan for four consecutive years.

“We’re going to work hard to grab 43 percent market share this year,” said Ryuji Araki, executive vice president of Toyota in charge of financial affairs, at a news conference in Tokyo.

In the overseas market, the Toyota group sold 3.567 million units. Toyota increased its sales in the North American markets to 1.78 million units, taking more than 10 percent of the market for the first time.

Its sales in the European markets also rose from 691,000 units in the 2000 business year to 866,000 units in 2001, with continued sales of the Yaris compact car, known as the Vitz in Japan, made at its French assembly plant, as well as the remodeled Corolla launched last year.

Toyota did not reveal consolidated financial projections for this year, but said it expects to sell 5.98 million units worldwide. Araki added that the firm will continue to make efforts toward an even better performance.

Vice President Araki also said Toyota will start announcing quarterly earnings in the current year ending in March 2003.

Honda Motor Co. is currently the only one among the top five Japanese automakers that releases earnings on a quarterly basis.

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