Toyota Motor Corp. raised its full-year profit forecast Tuesday by more than a third, as the Japanese automaker has cut costs and spending and as newer vehicles have bumped up sales.
Toyota's revised outlook means the company's recovery from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and Taiwan floods has come earlier than anticipated, but it still missed analyst expectations.
The company bumped its net profit fiscal-year outlook to about $2.61 billion, up from a previous guidance of about $2.34 billion. But that forecast -- which translates to about 200 billion yen -- remains about 51 percent behind last year's pace of 408 billion yen, which Toyota said was due to several natural disasters and the yen's appreciation against the dollar. Toyota revised its outlook on fiscal year-end operating profit to 270 billion yen, or about $3.5 billion, which fell below the 331 billion yen that had been the consensus of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Toyota's quarterly net profit fell about 13.5 percent. Its fiscal year ends in March.
Even though the yen has been further appreciating against major currencies lately, Toyota remains committed to pursuing an improvement of its earnings structure through various cost reduction activities as well as continuing the production recovery from the Japan earthquake and floods in Thailand, said Takahiko Ijichi, Toyota's senior managing officer, in a statement.
Toyota's revised outlook still lags behind the forecasts of fellow Japanese behemoths Honda, which increased its profit forecast last week, and Nissan. Nissan, however, wasn't as harshly affected by the wave of problems that befell Toyota and Honda.
Last year, the earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan and struck the supply chain of the major automakers in March. Later in the year, as the supply side began to recover, the flooding in Thailand again revisited those same problems. Toyota has said the floods alone in Thailand will dock it about 240,000 vehicles. Last year, General Motors Co. overtook Toyota as the No. 1 automaker in global sales.
Toyota has forecast record 2012 sales to recover from its dismal 2011 -- 9.58 million total. The company hopes to boost sales in a blossoming Chinese market. And even though it's planning to introduce 19 new models in the U.S. this year, Toyota has acknowledged the tougher competition from GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC could pose significant challenges, especially compared to recent history. For the fiscal year ending March, Toyota raised sales expectations from 7.38 million to 7.41 million.
But Toyota announced Monday a second shift for its Blue Springs, Miss., plant, where it produces the Camry. The company's U.S. sales, driven by strong demand for the Camry, jumped 7.5 percent, compared to a year earlier.
This month's results show that the all-new Camry is a hit, attracting both new and loyal customers, said Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager of Toyota USA. Our focus on delivering the best new products will continue as we enter the most aggressive launch of new vehicles in Toyota's history.
Toyota's American depositary receipt jumped 2.2 percent to 79.61 on Tuesday.