Toyota expects Prius family such as new C variant to boost sales

Toyota expects Prius family, such as new C variant, to boost sales.

Toyota Says Toll From Earthquake Cost ¥70 Billion in Fiscal 2012

The Japanese auto makerhas a positive outlook for fiscal 2013, predicting 8.7 million vehicle sales based on growth in all regions, including a 300,000-unit increase in the U.S.

Toyota says damage from Japan’s devastating earthquake in March 2011 took a ¥70 billion ($880 million) bite out of its operating income for fiscal-year 2012.

The disruption in supply particularly hurt the auto maker’s production and sales in North America, where its operating profit fell in the year that ended March 31.

"As things turned out, North America was the region of the world that suffered from the negative impact from the earthquake for the longest time," Toyota Senior Managing Officer Takahiko Ijichi tells analysts in a conference call.

Vehicles popular in the region, including the Prius hybrid and nearly the entire Lexus lineup, are manufactured in Japan, as are parts for many Toyota products built in North America.

Most of North America’s ¥186.4 billion ($2.34 billion) operating income was from financial-services activities, Ijichi says.

On a global basis, Toyota saw consolidated net revenue decline 2.2% from prior-year to ¥18.58 billion ($233.5 million), while consolidated net income slipped to ¥283.5 billion ($3.56 billion) from ¥408.1 billion ($5.13 billion).

Despite the earthquake, plus historic floods in Thailand that disrupted the supply chain, and the strong yen, Toyota  operating income totaled ¥355.6 billion ($4.47 billion), down 24.1% from year-ago.

"Our business environment for the fiscal year to March 2012 was extremely challenging,” Toyota President Akio Toyoda says in a statement.

Production recovery in the fiscal year’s second half helped boost Toyota’s total sales by 44,000 units to 7.35 million on a consolidated basis. North American operations delivered 1.87 million vehicles, down 159,000 from the previous fiscal year.

Sales in Japan recovered in the second half, pushing Toyota’s total volume for the fiscal year to 2.1 million units, up 158,000 from prior-year. Ijichi is unable to say whether the growth resulted from earthquake and tsunami victims replacing lost or damaged vehicles.

Toyota sales in Europe and Asia rose by 2,000 and 72,000 units, respectively. Operating income climbed in Europe but fell in Asia.

The auto maker sold slightly less than 900,000 vehicles in China in the last fiscal year. Ijichi expects to boost that to more than 1 million units in fiscal 2013, in line with the relatively minor growth predicted for the market there.

Toyota has a decidedly rosier outlook for fiscal 2013, predicting 8.7 million total sales on growth in all its regions, including a 300,000-unit hike in the U.S. Its confidence rides on a slew of new vehicles on the way, along with just-launched models such as the Prius C and V hybrids, as well as cost-reduction efforts such as sourcing more parts from outside Japan.

The auto maker is forecasting net revenue of ¥22.0 billion ($276.5 million), operating income of ¥1.0 trillion ($12.5 billion) and net income of ¥760.0 billion ($9.6 billion) for fiscal 2013. The auto maker makes these assumptions on an exchange rate of Y80:$1 and Y105:E1.

Meanwhile, Toyota will propose a fiscal 2012 year-end dividend of ¥30 ($0.38) per share, for a full-year dividend of ¥50 ($0.63) a share, at its shareholders meeting next month.

Says Toyoda: "From me, there is one point to be stressed: We have put into practice a cycle of developing better cars, which should increase sales and consequently profits to reinvest in developing even better cars, and we have confidence in this approach."

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