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Thu, Nov 08, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Toyota's earnings surge on demand for smaller cars

SOLID SALES With soaring gas prices boosting the appeal of its gas-electric hybrid Prius and popular models like the Camry, Toyota's quarterly profit rose 11 percent

AP , TOKYO

Japan's top automaker Toyota said yesterday its fiscal second-quarter net profit jumped 11 percent from a year ago on solid overseas sales of cars reputed for good mileage.

Toyota Motor Corp's July to September profit totaled ?450.9 billion (US$4 billion), up from ?405.7 billion the same period the previous year. Quarterly sales rose 11 percent to ?6.49 trillion from ?5.83 trillion, the firm said in a statement.

Toyota has been on a roll as soaring gas prices boost the appeal of its gas-electric hybrid Prius and popular smaller models, such as the Camry and Corolla. Although sales were stagnant in its home market, Toyota sales were strong in North America, Europe, Asia and emerging overseas markets.

Toyota raised its forecast for the full fiscal year ending March to a profit of ?1.7 trillion, up from an earlier profit projection of ?1.65 trillion.

It also raised its sales expectations to ?25.5 trillion from an initial ?25 trillion.

Toyota also said it now expects to sell 8.93 million vehicles during the fiscal year through March. In May, it had said it would sell 8.89 million vehicles this fiscal year.

Toyota, which has already beaten US General Motors Corp in profitability, is believed to be on track to beat GM in annual vehicle sales soon.

Toyota said its first-half results marked a record for the company in profit and sales. Net profit has ballooned by nearly 70 percent in the last two years, it said.

"We posted record results in both revenues and profits," Toyota executive vice president Mitsuo Kinoshita said in a statement. "We believe our efforts to build a globally balanced operational foundation contributed to these results."

For the fiscal first half, Toyota sold a record 4.3 million vehicles worldwide, up 3.8 percent from the same period a year earlier.

It posted ?942.4 billion in profits for the April to September half, up 21.3 percent from the previous year, as sales surged 13.4 percent year on year to ?13.012 trillion.

Toyota said a weak domestic currency during the six-month period added ?150 billion to the final result, while cost reduction efforts added another ?50 billion.

Toyota sold 1.497 million vehicles in North America during the first six months of the fiscal year, up 2.3 percent from 1.464 million a year earlier on robust demand for the Tundra pickup and the Prius.

In Europe, strong sales of the Corolla, Lexus luxury models and the Camry helped boost vehicle sales to 635,000 vehicles, up nearly 8 percent from 589,000 a year ago.

Sales in Asia burgeoned 18 percent from the previous year to 452,000 vehicles, with Indonesia and China posting particularly healthy numbers.

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