Wed, Aug 03, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Toyota surprises on the upside, raises financial forecasts

MORE THAN EXPECTED:After posting a small quarterly profit instead of analysts’ prediction of a loss, Toyota hiked forecast annual earnings by 39%

AP and AFP, TOKYO

Toyota Motor Corp eked out a ¥1.1 billion (US$14 million) quarterly profit and raised its annual earnings forecast yesterday despite the devastation wrought by the earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.

Still, April-June profit for the world’s biggest automaker was a fraction of the ¥190.4 billion it earned the same period the previous year. Fiscal first quarter sales crashed 29 percent to ¥3.44 trillion because of production disruptions.

The automaker now expects an annual profit of ¥390 billion compared with its prior forecast of ¥280 billion profit. The new forecast is still 4 percent lower than earnings in the previous year.

Toyota raised its annual sales forecast to ¥19 trillion from ¥18.6 trillion. That would mark a slight improvement from the previous fiscal year’s ¥18.99 trillion.

All of the Japanese automakers were hit by a shortage of key parts after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami destroyed suppliers in northeastern Japan.

Toyota’s sales were affected not only in Japan, but also in the US and other important markets as reduced car production fell short of demand.

However, the maker of the Prius hybrid, Camry sedan and Lexus luxury models appears to be bouncing back quicker than expected, as are rival Japanese automakers.

The quarterly profit was better than expected. A FactSet survey of analysts had forecast Toyota to report a quarterly loss.

Toyota, based in a central Japan city named after the automaker, said it was able to recoup some lost sales from relatively new markets like Indonesia and other Asian countries.

“Despite the impact of the earthquake, we were able to maintain a similar level of vehicle sales as the previous year,” Toyota senior managing officer Takahiko Ijichi said.

In other news, Nissan Motor Co yesterday unveiled a new project that will allow its Leaf electric car to feed power from its battery back into a family home and run appliances for up to two days.

Using the “Leaf to Home” system, the lithium-ion batteries of the zero tailpipe emission Leaf can be used as an emergency power backup for the home during a natural disaster or a power blackout, Nissan said.

Nissan, 44 percent owned by Renault of France, said it aims to commercialize the technology in Japan by March next year.

The system works by linking the car via a quick charging port to the house’s electricity distribution panel. Power can also be fed the other way if the house generates its own electricity with rooftop solar panels.

The Leaf batteries have a capacity of 24 kilowatt hours when fully charged, equivalent to the electricity used by the average Japanese household in two days, the company said.

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