Toyota boosts profit forecast


Toyota nudged its full-year net profit forecast up to $9.7 billion, even as it put the cost of recent anti-Japanese protests and a slowing economy in China, the world’s biggest autos market, at lost sales of 200,000 cars.

Sales at Toyota and its two Chinese joint ventures almost halved in September and October amid often violent protests in a dispute over ownership of islets in the East China Sea.

Toyota said yesterday the impact of the drop in sales would cost it 30 billion yen off its full-year net profit. It sold about 900,000 vehicles in China last year.

While Honda last week cut its full-year net profit forecast by a fifth to take account of the China damage, and Nissan is expected to follow suit when it releases its July-September results today, Toyota has found room to revise its forecasts higher as it traditionally gives more conservative earnings guidance and relies less heavily on China sales.

China accounts for about 12 per cent of Toyota’s sales, compared to Nissan’s 27 per cent and Honda’s 20 per cent.

Toyota increased its net profit forecast for the year to end-March to 780 billion yen, up 2.6 per cent from its previous guidance.

It said full-year operating profit would be 1.05 trillion yen, up a touch from its earlier forecast for 1 trillion yen.

July-September net profit more than trebled to 257.9 billion yen ($3.2 billion) on solid sales in North America and Southeast Asia, beating an average estimate of 228.8 billion yen.

A year ago, Japanese manufacturers were still reeling from the March earthquake and tsunami.

In its biggest market, the U S, Toyota’s sales rose 16 per cent in October from a year ago, giving it and its Lexus luxury brand a 13.9 per cent market share, up from 12.3 per cent.

Toyota said it hopes to sell two million vehicles in the U S, a market it sees growing to 14 million vehicles. – (Reuters)