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Toyota Motor Corp. on Wednesday reported a group net profit of 216.1 billion yen for the October-December quarter, up 93.9 percent from the same period a year earlier on brisk sales at home and abroad.

Japan’s top automaker’s group sales in the quarter rose 13.2 percent to 4.19 trillion yen.

Its consolidated pretax profits leaped 59 percent to 370.27 billion yen and its consolidated operation profits rose 23.3 percent to 379.44 billion yen.

Takeshi Suzuki, a board director in charge of Toyota’s financial affairs, said that the firm is likely to post record earnings results for the full business year to March as it saw record consolidated sales and profits during the nine months to December.

In fiscal 2001, which ended in March, the group posted record-high pretax profits of 1.14 trillion yen, the highest ever for a Japanese company.

For the third quarter, Toyota said per-share net profit stood at 62.94 yen, up from 30.99 yen for the corresponding quarter a year earlier.

In terms of volume, its global car sales in the quarter increased to 1.58 million units from 1.36 million units a year earlier. The figures include sales by two subsidiaries — Daihatsu Motor Co. and truck maker Hino Motors Ltd.

The group’s domestic sales rose 7.8 percent to 544,782 units, while sales in North America jumped 15.6 percent to 533,311 units.

Overseas sales jumped 20.6 percent to 1.03 million units due partly to brisk sales of Corolla and Camry sedans in North America.

Parts plant in U.S. eyed

NAGOYA (Kyodo) Toyota Motor Corp. may build an engine and transmission parts plant in the U.S. South, with production set to start in 2006, company sources said Wednesday.

The plant, which would probably be located in Arkansas or Tennessee, would complement Toyota’s plan to build a sixth auto assembly plant in the United States, in San Antonio, Texas, the sources said.

With the number of U.S.-made vehicles expected to rise, Japan’s top automaker believes it will need to build a parts plant to boost production and increase the use of locally made components, they said.

The plant would also allow the Texas facility to procure parts at a lower transportation cost, they said.

Toyota’s engine plant for large cars in Alabama, which will start operating this summer, may not produce as many engines as the Texas plant will need.

Toyota announced Wednesday that it plans to set up the Texas plant, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas, Inc., on March 1, and that it will start production in 2006.

It will turn out some 150,000 Tundra pickup trucks annually in an effort to keep up with high demand for light trucks in North America, Toyota said.

Toyota will invest $800 million (about 96 billion yen) in the plant and employ about 2,000 people there, the company said.

The company plans to hold a plant ceremony in San Antonio on Monday.

With the launch of the Texas plant, Toyota’s production capacity in North America is expected to reach about 1.7 million vehicles a year.

Toyota has two engine plants in North America. It produces roof racks, aluminum castings and other parts at three other plants.

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