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Toyota aims to double profit

Race to the top: Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda is optimistic about Toyota's future.

Fresh product wave in crisis-free global climate to help boost Toyota sales, profit

Toyota logo10 May 2012

AFTER losing the title of world’s biggest car-maker last year in the wake of the devastating natural disasters in Japan and Thailand, Toyota Motor Corporation this week outlined its road to recovery which should result in a massive spike in sales over the next 12 months and a doubling of profit that could even outmuscle a resurgent General Motors.

Free from the crippling production setbacks experienced after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 and floods in Thailand later in the year, Toyota has forecast a net profit of ¥760 billion ($A9.47 billion) for its financial year ending March 31, 2013 – up from ¥283.5 billion ($A3.53b) for the previous financial year, which was posted this week and represents a 31 per cent slide on 2010-11.

This would be its best result in five years, and is based on revenue of ¥22 trillion and vehicle sales for the 12-month period across all of its brands – including the Lexus luxury division – of 8.7 million units, an increase of 1.35 million cars over last financial year.

Industry analysts believe the profit forecast is likely to be higher than that of General Motors, which last week posted a $US1 billion global first-quarter profit for the calendar year, although in overall sales terms the US auto giant is expected to remain the frontrunner.

GM sold 2.28 million cars across its various brands and joint-venture partners in the first quarter, and is on track to surpass the 9.03 million achieved in 2011.

Toyota’s global sales fell around six per cent last calendar year to 7.95 million vehicles, placing it fourth behind GM, Volkswagen (8.39 million) and the Renault-Nissan Alliance (8.03 million).

However, TMC figures released this week show 2.48 million global sales achieved in the first quarter of this calendar year, which for the time being sees it ahead of its rivals, including GM and the VW Group (2.26 million).

 center imageFrom top: Toyota Prius V, Prius C and Lexus GS.

After battling a confluence of issues, which in addition to the natural disasters have included global recalls, an appreciating yen and difficult economic conditions worldwide, Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda is optimistic about the company’s future, particularly on the strength of new models from both Toyota and Lexus.

These include the new Prius C and Prius V hybrids and key forthcoming redesigned models such as Corolla, while Lexus is also regenerating with its new GS series and the approaching new LS flagship, ES mid-sizer, IS small car and a sub-RX small SUV in development.

“From me, there is one point to be stressed: we have put into practice a cycle of developing ‘better cars’ which should increase sales and consequently profits to reinvest in developing even better cars – and we have confidence in this approach,” said Mr Toyoda this week.

“As we expect many full-model changes for both Toyota and Lexus brands, we plan to launch products in developed markets as well as emerging markets, which are so attractive that our customers would feel they ‘must have’ them.

“With our forthcoming models, we will improve our vehicles steadily towards ‘better’ and ‘even better’ cars.

“In recent years, we have suffered periods of hardship. This year, I am determined to show tangible results of all our internal efforts in order to reward our stakeholders who supported us during these difficult times.

“I will continue to lead the united efforts of 32,000 employees of Global Toyota.”

This week’s financial results show that Toyota’s net profit in the three months ending March 31 increased to ¥121 billion as production climbed 36 per cent.

A recovering Japanese market is underpinning the growth, with Toyota recording 714,000 sales on home soil in the first quarter of this year, while the North American market and other parts of Asia (mainly China) and have also rebounded with 604,000 and 433,000 Q1 sales respectively.

As GoAuto reported last month, Toyota has restructured its product development operations in an effort to deliver more exciting products, faster and cheaper.

Among the first significant change will be the introduction of three new front-wheel-drive platforms that will be shared across regions and account for about half of the company’s global volume.

In Australia, Toyota is targeting sales growth of more than 22 per cent this year – to 230,000 units (including Lexus) – with the release of no fewer than 19 new or upgraded models for the Toyota brand alone.

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