Toyota Motor Corp. estimates that its profit will increase by more than double to a five-year high as it recovers from the adverse effects of last year's natural disasters and as it launches new vehicle models to gain back its share of the market. Net income may increase to JPY760 billion or $9.5 billion for the 12-month ending March 2013, from around JPY283.6 billion a year earlier, the company disclosed in a statement.
On the other hand, the average estimate of 21 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg is at around JPY817.7 billion. The company anticipates sales to increase 18 percent to around JPY22 trillion in 2012. The estimate indicates that the automaker may earn more profit compared with General Motors Co. as Akio Toyoda, grandson of the founder, introduces new Prius hybrids, Lexus sedans and Corolla compacts to reclaim lost ground in what may be his first crisis-free year since taking the president position in 2009.
As production returned to normal levels, Toyoda is now facing a reborn GM which ranks No. 1 in worldwide sales, an emerging Hyundai Motor Co. and a rising Volkswagen Group which starts to dominate the premium vehicle sales in China. Automotive analyst Koji Endo at Tokyo-based Advanced Research Japan commented that the sales in the United States will be the largest cash cow for Toyota in 2012. The analyst noted that the economy in the U.S. has been "fairly good."
Net income in the first quarter at Toyota increased to around JPY121 billion, as the Japanese carmaker cranked up production by 36 percent and led the recovery of the automotive industry in Japan. However, the figure is nowhere near the JPY140.1 billion average estimate of analysts.
The Japanese yen, which appreciated and eroded Japanese exports value in the last two years, has reversed course by becoming one of the major currencies with the worst performance in 2012. Despite all these, Toyota's fourth-quarter rebound was not sufficient to maintain full-year income from tumbling 31 percent to JPY283.6 billion as the March 11 disaster in Japan and the massive floods in Thailand adversely affected automotive output.
Last month, Toyota released an improved forecast for industry-wide U.S. sales of cars and light trucks in 2012, adding that increasing consumer confidence was a major factor in the improvement. According to Toyota, the whole auto industry will sell between low- to mid-14 million cars and light trucks in 2012, from its previous forecast of around 13.6 million.
Figures show that the auto industry posted a growth of 13 percent in sales of US light vehicles for the first three months of 2012 to around 3.47 million units.