Japanese automaker Toyota’s profits rose thanks to a cheap yen and strong global sales
TOKYO (AP) — Toyota’s July-September profits jumped nearly threefold from a year ago as car sales grew worldwide and a cheap yen boosted the Japanese automaker’s profits overseas.
Toyota Motor Corp. on Wednesday reported quarterly profits of 1.28 trillion yen ($8.5 billion), compared with 434 billion yen a year earlier. Quarterly sales rose 24% to 11.43 trillion yen ($75.7 billion) from 9.22 trillion yen.
The cheap yen represents an additional advantage for major Japanese exporters such as Toyota, by increasing the value of its profits abroad when translated into yen. The US dollar traded at around 145 Japanese yen last quarter, up from 138 yen. It has been trading above 150 yen recently.
The maker of Camry sedans, Prius hybrids and Lexus luxury cars raised its profit forecast for the fiscal year through March 2024 to 3.95 trillion yen ($26 billion), up from a previous forecast of 2.5 trillion yen.
These forecasts, if realized, represent an improvement over the previous fiscal year’s profits of 2.45 trillion yen, and would be a record for Toyota.
Officials said that Toyota expects its car sales to grow in most major regions. Toyota vehicle sales rose from July to September compared to the previous year in the United States, Europe, Japan and the rest of Asia, totaling more than 2.4 million vehicles globally, up from 2.1 million the previous year.
Toyota kept its forecast to sell 11.38 million vehicles for the full fiscal year worldwide unchanged.
Toyota admitted that it lagged behind early competitors in the field of battery-powered electric cars such as the American electric car manufacturer Tesla and the Chinese company BYD. Toyota has recently shown off concepts that reflect how serious it is about catching up.
Earlier this week, Toyota said it was investing an additional $8 billion in a hybrid and electric vehicle battery plant it is building in North Carolina, more than doubling its previous investment.
The new investment is expected to create an additional 3,000 jobs, bringing the total to more than 5,000 when the first U.S. auto battery plant begins operations near Greensboro in 2025.
The plant is designed to be Toyota’s primary lithium-ion battery production site in North America and will be a major supplier to the Kentucky-based plant that is building its first American-made electric vehicles.
Toyota sold fewer than 25,000 electric cars worldwide last year, although it sold 65,000 in the first eight months of this year, mostly outside Japan. Toyota aims to sell 1.5 million electric cars annually by 2026 and 3.5 million by 2030.
A computer chip shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic’s social restrictions had previously devastated the supply chain and hurt Toyota’s sales. But that gradually subsided.
Gas-efficient vehicles are increasingly popular in various markets due to environmental concerns. Besides battery electric vehicles, Toyota also relies on other types of environmentally friendly vehicles, such as hydrogen-powered fuel cells and hybrids that have an electric motor and a gasoline engine.
Hannah Schoenbaum in Raleigh, North Carolina, contributed to this report. She’s on X, formerly Twitter https://twitter.com/H_Schoenbaum
Yuri Kageyama is on X, formerly Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama