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Toyota Australia posts $32.6 million loss

Back to form: Toyota Australia hopes a range of new vehicles like the 86 will return it to profit this financial year.

Third successive loss for Toyota Australia blamed on natural disasters and sackings

21 Jun 2012

TOYOTA Australia has announced its third successive after-tax operating loss, posting a deficit of $32.6 million for the financial year ending March 31, 2012.

The Japanese company today attributed the loss to natural disasters in Thailand and Japan that crippled supply of parts and vehicles for much of the year, unfavourable exchange rates on its export programs, intense market competition and the cost of raw materials.

The annual financial result also factors in the one-off costs associated with the termination of 350 staff from its Altona manufacturing plant, which was announced in January this year.

Total revenue for 2011/12 was $7.25 billion (down from $8.27 billion the previous financial year), while domestic retail volume of Toyota and Lexus combined was down 16 per cent to 187,328 deliveries (217,365 in 2010/11).

Despite this sharp drop in sales, the company still comfortably topped the overall sales charts in Australia in 2011. Sales have rebounded across the board so far this year thanks largely to improved supply, with deliveries up 16.2 per cent.

Toyota said the Japanese earthquake in March and the Thai floods in October had an “unprecedented impact”, and were collectively to blame for a net $1 billion fall in sales over the previous financial year.

Toyota Australia president and CEO Max Yasuda said that, while the company could not control external factors like natural disasters or the strong Australian dollar, it had taken steps to become more sustainable by making the company’s workforce “leaner”.

 center imageFrom top: Toyota Australia president and CEO Max Yasuda Toyota Prius C Prius V.

“We have had to make immediate change during recent months and adjust our manufacturing workforce,” he said.

“This was an extremely difficult decision to make but was absolutely critical if we want to strengthen our foundation and grow in the future.

“We also announced a company-wide review of all of our operations aimed at transforming Toyota Australia.”

Mr Yasuda said that while the strong Australian currency would continue to have an impact on local operations, the company was aiming for an improved performance this year, with a range of new product offerings expected to help the company back into the black.

“We are very pleased with the new product offerings we have on the market this year,” he said.

“The locally made next-generation Camry Hybrid and Aurion were launched earlier this year and have received positive feedback.”“In addition, the all-new Prius C, Prius V and 86 sports car are new and exciting vehicles that are already receiving significant interest from Australian consumers.

“We are expecting the release of these new vehicles will translate to an increase in sales and solidify Toyota's position as the number one automotive brand in Australia.”

Toyota will release an unprecedented 19 new or upgraded models this year as it targets a return to the 200,000 sales mark by December 31.

As we have reported, Toyota will open a new $300 million engine plant later this year – funded partially by the federal government’s now-defunct Green Car Innovation Fund – at Altona to manufacture four-cylinder and hybrid powertrains for the Camry sedan.

Toyota employs a total of 4200 people across Australia and last year produced almost 94,000 Camry and Aurion sedans for the domestic market and export customers, mostly in the Middle East.

The announcement means that two of Australia’s three car manufacturers posted losses last financial year, with Ford’s local arm confirming a $290 million deficit for 2011/12 – its largest ever.

General Motors-owned Holden bucked the trend by announcing a profit of $89.7 million – an identical figure to federal government assistance dished out last year.

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