Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday that a 10.5 percent boost in sales helped it set a quarterly sales record of 4.98 trillion yen in the first quarter, thanks to thriving demand in all markets.
In terms of volume, global sales during the April-June period — including those from subsidiaries Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motor Ltd. — rose 8.8 percent to record 1.95 million vehicles.
The strong demand prompted the world’s No. 2 automaker to revise its global sales projection to 7.97 million vehicles for the current fiscal year, up 6.6 percent from its estimate in May.
However, Toyota’s net profit in the quarter fell 6.9 percent from a year earlier to 266.8 billion yen. Operating profit slipped 9.7 percent to 405.1 billion yen.
Japan’s top carmaker mainly attributed the profit drop to a rise in sales and personnel costs driven by rapid expansion and higher R&D costs.
“We are making investments for our future growth in the global market,” Takeshi Suzuki, the company’s senior managing director, told a news conference.
For the current fiscal year, Toyota’s capital investment is expected to total 2.02 trillion yen, including 770 billion yen for research and development.
In terms of volume, Toyota said the jump in Asia excluding Japan was especially notable, totaling 229,000 vehicles, up 13.3 percent from the previous year. This was credited to brisk sales of models introduced under Toyota’s Innovative International Multipurpose Vehicle project, launched last August.
The project lets Toyota assemble vehicles better suited to the needs of overseas markets at four main production bases, in Indonesia, Thailand, Argentina and South Africa, using locally procured components.
Suzuki said sales in Asia are rapidly growing into one of its major revenue sources.
Toyota sold 550,000 vehicles in Japan, up 2.2 percent from a year earlier, driven by the popularity of the Vitz and Passo compacts.
However, since the new models are rather inexpensive, the operating profit margin shrank by about 25 percent, Toyota said.
In North America, sales grew 12 percent to 641,000 vehicles, mainly led by strong demand for fuel efficient models, including the Prius hybrid and the Corolla compacts.
General Motors and Ford Motor have triggered a price war in the region by allowing customers to buy at the employee discount price. In July, Toyota started raising prices for 23 models, including the Prius hybrid car, the RAV4 sport utility vehicle and the Corolla series, by $200 to $300.
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