Toyota profits increase fourfold

Toyota profits more than quadrupled to 121bn yen (€1.16bn) in the January to March period compared with the previous year, capping a hardship-filled year as it was battered by the tsunami in Japan.

Profit for the fiscal year ending in March plunged 30% to 283.6bn yen (€2.72bn), down from 408bn yen (£3.1 billion) the previous fiscal year, as last year’s tsunami damaged supply chains in north-eastern Japan and hobbled Toyota production around the world.

But in a sign of solid recovery, Japan’s leading car manufacturer forecast today that profit would soar to 760bn yen (€7.3bn) for the fiscal year to March 2013.

Toyota’s profit for January-March last year had been dismal at 25.4bn yen (€244m) because of the tsunami damage. The earthquake and tsunami hit on March 11, 2011.

The flooding in Thailand at about the same time also hammered Toyota’s results.

Toyota president Akio Toyoda acknowledged the hardships, but also pointed to the strong yen, which erodes the overseas earnings of Japanese exporters like Toyota.

He said: “Our vision is to establish a strong business foundation that will ensure profitability under any kind of difficult business environment.

“But thanks to the concerted efforts of our employees, suppliers and dealers, we were able to recover production and sales faster than anticipated and achieved a strong result.”

Toyota, which makes the Prius, Avensis and Lexus models, saw vehicle sales grow in all regions, including Japan, Europe and Africa during the latest fiscal year, except for North America. But even there, it is regaining market share.

Toyota is expecting to sell 8.7 million vehicles for the fiscal year through to March 2013, 1.3 million more than the fiscal year ending in March.

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