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Mon, Apr 13, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Toyota set to suffer second straight loss

KING OF THE HILL The Japanese automaker overtook the US-based General Motors to become the largest global carmaker, mostly because the US firm’s sales dropped faster

AFP , TOKYO

Jobseekers, right, consult with officials at a branch of “hello work” in Toyota city, central Japan, on Monday.

PHOTO: AP

Toyota Motor, the world’s biggest automaker, is expected to suffer a second consecutive annual loss because of the global economic slump and a stronger yen, Japan’s Nikkei daily reported yesterday.

Toyota’s group operating loss may top ¥500 billion (US$5 billion) for the current fiscal year, which started on April 1, the business daily said.

It would be the second straight operating loss, as the company has already warned that it expects an operating loss of ¥450 billion, its first ever, for the fiscal year to March 31.

Revenue for the current year is expected to fall to around ¥20 trillion, down from an estimated ¥21 trillion for the year before, the Nikkei said.

Toyota group auto sales are now estimated at 6.5 million vehicles for the fiscal year just started — which, if confirmed, would be the first time they have fallen below 7 million units, it said.

That forecast is mainly because of a delay in recovery of the US auto industry, with the Japanese and European auto markets also expected to remain stagnant and the impact of a strong yen against the dollar and the euro.

NOT COMPETITIVE

A strong yen lowers the competitiveness of Japanese products overseas.

Toyota overtook General Motors last year to become the world’s top-selling automaker, but only because the US giant’s sales fell faster than its own.

The Japanese company has moved to lower production, cut jobs and appointed a new president from its founding family, Akio Toyoda, to replace Katsuaki Watanabe in response to the crisis, its biggest ever.

The company’s US division will also bring back a former top executive from retirement, as the world’s top automaker saw its US sales fall 39 percent last month, worse than the industrywide decline, Autodata Corp said.

NEW ROLE

Yoshi Inaba, 63, will return to a position at Toyota’s US operations, but his new role has not yet been identified, Mike Michels, vice president of communications at Toyota Motor Sales USA, said on Thursday.

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