The year 2012 was the polar opposite from 2011 for Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp., which reported soaring profits of 290.3 billion yen (US$3.7 billion) for the latest quarter.
The earnings beat analyst consensus handily, sending Toyota’s shares up last Friday. It is also sharply up from last year’s 1.1 billion yen net income (US$13 million).
Toyota said that overall sales for the quarter was 5.5 trillion yen (US$70.5 billion), head and shoulders better than its performance in the same period in 2011. The Japanese company had been beset by the earthquake and tsunami disaster in early 2011, and then massive flooding in Thailand later.
Vehicle sales by unit reached 2.3 million globally, which is almost twice as high as the number sold last year during the same quarter. Sales gains were realized in almost all regions, including North America and Europe.
In the first half of 2012, Toyota has regained its top spot among global automakers, selling 4.97 million vehicles, which is more than No. 2 General Motors Co. of the United States, and No. 3 Volkswagen AG of Germany.
“In all regions, vehicle sales increased significantly due to strong recovery of demand, which had suffered last year from the lack of supply caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake,” said Takahiko Ijichi, Toyota’s senior managing officer, in a statement.
Overall, Toyota has benefited from a recovering U.S. auto market—where it makes most of its money—higher sales in Japan due to more incentives, and steady growth in China and other emerging markets.
Firing on Most Cylinders
In its home domestic Japanese market, Toyota sold 577,000 vehicles in the quarter, an increase of 285,000 from last year.
Toyota sold 663,000 units in the North American market, an increase of 387,000 cars from last year. Sales in Europe (209,000 vehicles) and the rest of Asia (418,000) were both up from last year’s struggles.
One segment of concern was the financial services unit, which provides vehicle financing. Toyota Financial Services saw its operating income drop by 7.8 billion yen (US$99 million) for the period, which factors in losses on interest rate swaps.
Results Drive Stronger Forecast
Toyota’s sales in the United States gained 26 percent for the latest quarter. The company is ahead of schedule in its goal of growing U.S. sales by 15 percent.
On the back of positive results for the quarter, Toyota is revising upward its sales target this year to 9.76 million vehicles, which is a record for the company. If that is achievable, it would represent a 23 percent increase from last year’s sales of 7.9 million vehicles. The highest vehicle sales thus far for Toyota had been 2007, when it sold 9.4 million units.
Toyota isn’t the only Japanese automaker to rebound this year as the industry recovers from last year’s tsunami, which affected logistics and spending. Honda Motor Co. said that its quarterly sales rose 42 percent in the latest quarter compared to last year.
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