Toyota's profit falls 39%
Profit at Toyota Motor Corp. dropped 39% in its third fiscal quarter, mostly related to the strong value of the Japanese yen, though the company conceded that it still has not fully recovered from a string of recalls and regulatory fines in the U.S. market.
One executive told the Associated Press: "We think that the wound is now half-healed."
"It is going to be a gradual effort, but we are starting to regain the trust of our customers. We are only halfway there," Senior Managing Director Takehiko Ijichihe told reporters at Toyota's Tokyo office.
Hampered by the recalls and the record payment of nearly $50 million in federal fines for failing to promptly inform regulators of defects in its vehicles and delaying recalls, Toyota saw its share of the U.S. auto market fall to 15.2% last year from 17% in 2009.
The company said it was seeing good growth in Asia, Africa and South America.
Toyota said it earned a net profit of 93.6 billion yen ($1.1 billion) in the quarter, down from 153 billion yen in the same period a year earlier. Revenue dipped almost 12% to 4.673 trillion yen ($57 billion).
In midday trading Tuesday, U.S.-traded shares of Toyota rose 4% to $88.65.
Toyota executives said the world auto market was improving and raised their sales forecast for the year ending March 31 to almost 7.5 million vehicles from 7.1 million autos. Toyota also raised its annual profit forecast to 490 billion yen ($6 billion) from 350 billion yen ($4.3 billion).
The maker of the Lexus luxury model, Camry sedan and the Prius hybrid now expects to sell 7.48 million vehicles worldwide in the year ending March 31, up from the previous forecast for 7.1 million vehicles. The forecast would mark a 3% increase from 7.24 million vehicles sold in the year ended March 2010.
-- Jerry Hirsch