Toyota Motor Corp., the world's largest automaker, announced Friday its annual loss this fiscal year may be three times larger than originally expected as global auto sales continued to weaken.
Toyota said it is expected to lose 450 billion yen, or $5 billion, for the fiscal year ending March 31. The company had estimated a 150 billion yen operating loss just six weeks ago.
Toyota blamed the larger loss on both the weakening of global auto sales and stronger yen which trims the value of foreign earnings.
Toyota said with restructuring efforts guided by a special Emergency Profit Improvement Committee, it is planning a new product line-up that it hopes will fare better in the tighter economic environment.
The financial problems have spread directly to the real economy. We cannot tell what will happen next year but we hope we are now hitting the bottom, Mitsuo Kinoshita, an executive vice president, told reporters.
The operating loss is Toyota's first since the end of World War II.
The traditionally most profitable market, North America, is where it was particularly hard hit. Also in Japan posted a 164.2 billion yen, or $1.8 billion, operating loss after vehicle sales dropped 14 percent.