Toyota makes record profit
TOKYO -- Toyota chalked up a record annual profit and sales above 10 million vehicles for the first time, but forecast Thursday a slower year ahead as the momentum from a weak yen fades.
Expenses such as the $1.2 billion penalty it paid in a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department earlier this year for hiding information about defects in its cars dented its profit for January-March quarter, according to Toyota.
Toyota Motor Corp., the world's top automaker, is forecasting a $17.5 billion profit for the fiscal year through March 2015.
That's lower than what the company recorded for the fiscal year just ended, when its profit almost doubled to a record 1.82 trillion yen ($17.9 billion) from 962 billion yen the previous year.
Annual sales jumped 16 percent to $252 billion, helped by a weak yen which aids Japanese exporters and thanks to growth in the U.S., Europe, Japan and the rest of Asia. The yen perk is likely transitory as the currency isn't expected to weaken indefinitely.
Toyota believes Japan sales were inflated in recent months as consumers rushed to buy ahead of a tax increase that kicked in April 1, so that such growth won't hold up during the current fiscal year.
Still, the company is on a roll.
The maker of the Prius hybrid, Lexus luxury model and Camry sedan became the first automaker to sell more than 10 million vehicles in a 12 month period, with sales totaling 10.13 million vehicles around the world for the fiscal year ended March. It also expects to surpass the 10-million milestone for the current calendar year.
It is expecting solid growth to continue, hoping to sell 10.25 million vehicles globally for the fiscal year through March 2015.
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