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Toyota profits rebound

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 11:41 am

TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp. raised its fiscal-year profit forecast Tuesday to triple what it eked out for the disaster-struck previous year, as the world’s top automaker continued on a comeback roll as sales surged, especially in the U.S.

Toyota’s October-December profit jumped 23 percent to 99.91 billion yen ($1.09 billion), compared to the same period the previous year. Quarterly sales edged up 9 percent to 5.3 trillion yen ($58 billion).

Underlining its solid recovery, Toyota is now expecting fiscal year profit of 860 billion yen ($9.3 billion). It had initially expected a 780 billion yen ($8.5 billion) profit. It had marked a 283.5 billion yen profit through March 2012.

Toyota also raised its sales forecast for the fiscal year through March, to 21.8 trillion yen ($237 billion), up 17 percent from the previous fiscal year.

Toyota is also expecting a perk from a favorable exchange rate. The yen has been weakening on expectations the prime minister who took office late last year will push for inflation targets and other monetary policy designed to weaken the yen. A strong yen hurts giant exporters like Toyota by erasing the value of overseas earnings.

Toyota’s recovery tale is being repeated at other Japanese automakers, which saw production disruptions from the March 2011 tsunami and earthquake in northeastern Japan.

The Japanese maker of the Prius hybrid, Camry sedan and Lexus luxury cars rose once again to the world’s top automaker in global vehicle sales last calendar year, overtaking U.S. rival General Motors Co.