Toyota racks up booming profit, vows to invest to keep growth going

TOYOTA doubled its net profit in the fiscal year that ended in March, as strong vehicle sales and a favorable exchange rate lifted results for Japan’s top automaker.

Toyota Motor Corp.’s annual profit totaled 4.9 trillion yen (US$31.9 billion), up from 2.45 trillion yen the year before, while its sales jumped 21 percent to 45 trillion yen ($290 billion), the company said Wednesday.

The results exceeded Toyota’s own projection for a 4.5 trillion yen ($29 billion) profit, as its global sales surged to 9.4 million vehicles from 8.8 million vehicles in the previous fiscal year.

Sales of hybrids performed well, although Toyota stressed it was working hard to offer various kinds of electric vehicles, including battery EVs, plug-ins and fuel cell models.

A weak yen worked as a big plus for Toyota, which makes the Camry sedan, Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury models. The U.S. dollar cost an average of 145 Japanese yen during the last fiscal year, up from 135 yen in the year before, according to Toyota.

For the January-March quarter, Toyota earned 997.6 billion yen ($6.4 billion), up from 552 billion yen in the previous year, on 11 trillion yen ($71 billion) in sales, up from 9.7 trillion yen.

The company, based in central Japan’s Toyota city, now expects to sell 9.5 million vehicles during this fiscal year, with sales projected to grow in the U.S. and the rest of Asia.

Toyota said it will make key investments in areas such as research on technology in the coming months to sustain long-term growth.

It expects its net profit for the fiscal year through March 2025 to decline nearly 28 percent to 3.57 trillion yen ($23 billion), with spending also covering investments in workers at suppliers and dealers it called “human capital.”

“The latest results show that our efforts have borne fruit, but we need to keep growing with the vision to become a mobility company,” chief executive Koji Sato told reporters. / AP

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