Toyota Motor Corp yesterday reported a surprise operating profit and maintained its outlook for the full year, showing resilience to the global slowdown in the automobile industry that has forced other major automakers to post deep losses.
The Japanese car company reported a profit of ￥13.9 billion (US$131.52 million) in the second quarter, even though analysts projected, on average, a loss of ￥207 billion.
For the fiscal year through March next year, Toyota kept its operating profit outlook of ￥500 billion.
Although slim for an automaker with an annual output of 10 million vehicles, the results deliver on Toyota president and chief executive Akio Toyoda’s vow to remain profitable during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Volkswagen AG, Ford Motor Co and other automakers have reported large losses as the pandemic decimated demand, underscoring Toyota’s expertise in containing costs during good times and bad.
Tesla Inc is another rare example of a profitable automaker, with the company benefiting from market-share gains and capacity expansion.
“There clearly are winners and losers,” Bloomberg analyst Tatsuo Yoshida said, adding that, compared with other Japanese automakers, “Toyota’s progress has been really good.”
After the results were published, Toyota shares yesterday climbed 2.3 percent, while the stock is down 12 percent percent this year. The NASDAQ OMX Global Auto Index is up about 4.5 percent over the same period.
The pandemic has forced car dealers to close showrooms and manufacturers to idle factories around the world, with global auto sales declining 22 percent to 4.16 million units in the first six months of this year.
Toyota’s revenue for the quarter fell 40 percent to ￥4.6 trillion, slightly exceeding analysts’ prediction for ￥4.4 trillion.
For the full year, Toyota kept its sales forecast at ￥24 trillion. Analysts are projecting, on average, annual revenue of ￥24.7 trillion.
“Toyota was already more profitable than other automakers,” Tokyo Tokai Securities analyst Seiji Sugiura said.
“They should return to normal by the fourth quarter,” he said.
Toyota also released a net income outlook of ￥730 billion, below analysts’ projection of ￥1.1 trillion, and down 64 percent from the previous fiscal year.
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