Toyota logs record profit, sales

Robust emerging markets, weak yen boost carmakers


Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday that it posted a record ¥1.27 trillion operating profit for the first half of business 2007, largely on the back of robust sales in China, Russia and other emerging markets.

The weak yen also helped boost profits.

The company’s operating profit for the six months that ended Sept. 30 jumped 16.3 percent from a year earlier. Net profit surged 21.3 percent to ¥942.4 billion, while sales rose 13.4 percent year-on-year to ¥13.01 trillion. Operating profit, net profit and sales all marked record highs for half-year figures, the automaker said.

Group sales for the six months reached 4.3 million vehicles, up 156,000 from a year earlier.

“In particular, the market in Asia is recovering and sales in the Middle East and Central and South America also surged,” Toyota Senior Managing Director Takeshi Suzuki said in Tokyo.

Brisk overseas sales and a weaker yen supported not only Toyota but also other major automakers in the country, analysts said.

They all experienced growth in sales, but some posted a loss in group net profit.

Honda Motor Co. said both its group net profit and sales for the April-September period hit record highs for the seventh straight year on a half-year basis. Honda’s half-year net profit rose 38.1 percent from a year earlier to ¥374.6 billion, on sales of ¥5.9 trillion, up 12.8 percent. The automaker’s group operating profit increased 28.1 percent to ¥508.02 billion.

Nissan Motor Co. reported that its sales for the first half-year rose 11.7 percent to ¥5.06 trillion and its operating profit was up 5.3 percent at ¥367.14 billion. But its group net profit for the first half-year fell 22.5 percent to ¥212.4 billion.

Mazda Motor Corp. reported Friday its largest-ever group operating profit and sales for the first half of 2007, with the group operating profit up 4.8 percent to ¥73.08 billion and sales up 8.9 percent to ¥1.66 trillion. Mazda, the Japanese affiliate of Ford Motor Co., said its group net profit rose 6.8 percent to ¥29.05 billion.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said it earned an operating profit of ¥18.83 billion for the first half, bouncing back from a loss of ¥5.52 billion the year before. Sales rose 30.6 percent to ¥1.31 trillion.

But the automaker reported a net loss of ¥5.6 billion due partly to reorganization costs stemming from the integration of domestic dealerships and higher corporate taxes on its overseas subsidiaries.

“Overall, sluggish sales in domestic markets were covered by still solid sales in North America, which is the biggest source of profits (for Japanese makers) and a boost in Russia, India, Brazil, and other Asian countries where Japan has a strong presence,” said Tatsuo Yoshida, a UBS Securities analyst.