Toyota Motor Corp. forecast the highest-ever annual operating profit for a Japanese firm Tuesday after interim earnings jumped to a fresh record on brisk sales of fuel-efficient cars. Toyota, the world's second-largest automaker, posted a 36.2% rise in net earnings of 777.2 billion yen (US$6.60 billion) for the six months to September as revenue grew 15.3% to 11.47 trillion yen.
Toyota, which is on track to overtake General Motors for the global top spot thanks to strong demand for its fuel-efficient vehicles, said operating profit rose 35.1% to a record 1.09 trillion yen, helped by a weaker yen.
In the first half, Toyota sold a record 4.145 million vehicles worldwide, a rise of 312,000 from a year earlier. Brisk sales in North American and Europe drove earnings while the company saw a weaker performance in Japan and the rest of Asia, senior managing director Takeshi Suzuki said.
Toyota upgraded its outlook, forecasting a 13% rise in full-year net profit to a record 1.55 trillion yen. It expects an operating profit of 2.20 trillion yen and revenues of 23.2 trillion. It would be the first time that any Japanese company has posted a two trillion yen operating profit.
Suzuki said the company was focusing on expanding local production and sales in foreign markets, with Europe, Central and Latin Americas and Asia showing signs of further growth, helping to cut its dependence on the U.S.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006