Toyota Motor Corp. posted JPY1.32 trillion ($13.32 billion) in operating profit for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013, with an operating margin of 5.98 percent. The results surpassed a market forecast of JPY1.26 trillion yen in operating profit. Toyota’s latest annual results means that it managed to reach the target set two years ago by President Akio Toyoda: to achieve JPY1 trillion in annual operating profit with a 5 percent margin.
Toyota’s Japanese manufacturing arm also posted a profit for the first time in five years. The Japanese carmaker posted net profit of JPY313.9 billion ($3.17 billion) in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2013, compared with JPY121 billion logged in the same period a year ago. Its performance for the quarter was greatly helped by the weakening yen and stronger sales of the Avalon sedan and Tacoma pickup in the United States.
Toyota is expecting to post a smaller annual profit than analysts’ estimate in fiscal year ending March 31, 2014, as it expects stiffer rivalry in the US and a slumping demand in China.
Toyota expects to log a 42-percent jump in net income in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014 to JPY1.37 trillion ($14 billion). Although the weakening yen helped Toyota to post a stronger profit, the carmaker is facing tougher competition from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler Group in the US, its largest market.
Toyota has seen its US market share drop to a 15-month low and its sales in China decline for three straight quarters. The carmaker saw its US vehicle sales drop for the first time in 18 months in April, when its Prius declined 21 percent and its Camry sedan was outsold for a second straight month. However, sales of the Avalon and the Lexus ES jumped in April after undergoing a redesign in 2012.