Toyota profits skyrocket amid recovery from 3/11 disasters

Carmaker says earnings expected to triple to ¥1 trillion by next March


Staff Writer

Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday that it expects its group operating profit to nearly triple to ¥1 trillion for the business year ending next March, a sharp recovery from a disaster-plagued year that also saw the yen surge against major currencies.

The bullish outlook for Asia’s No. 1 automaker contrasts with a ¥355.63 billion operating profit for the year that ended on March 31 — a year that saw a 24.1 percent drop from the one before due to the effects of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region and floods in Thailand, which disrupted auto parts supply chains and stalled production.

“Business environments were very severe last year, including the earthquake in eastern Japan, the floods in Thailand and the strong yen,” Toyota President Akio Toyoda told a news conference.

But the auto giant continued to cut costs even amid the yen’s record rise, he said.

“It is becoming a virtuous circle that production of good vehicles leads to a rise in sales and profits, and it helps to create better vehicles,” he said.

Toyota expects net group profit to hit ¥760 billion on sales of ¥22 trillion for the business year to March 2013.

Toyoda also said he hopes a number of new models and revamps both in the Toyota and Lexus brands will lead to sales growth in Western countries as well as in emerging markets.

For the business year that ended in March, the automaker announced that its consolidated net profits declined 30.5 percent to ¥283.56 billion from a year earlier. Its group sales also dropped 2.2 percent to ¥18.58 trillion from the previous year.

Toyota said sales hit hard by the disasters started to recover sharply late last year. Domestic sales jumped thanks to a government subsidy for environmentally friendly cars, while sales also grew in emerging economies.

Toyota aims to increase global sales especially in China and other emerging countries, Toyoda said.