Toyota Hikes Profit Forecast 54%, Shrugs Off Global Chip Supply Issues

Toyota
FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a Toyota logo at the Tokyo Motor Show, in Tokyo, Japan October 24, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp on Wednesday jacked up its full-year earnings forecast by a bigger-than-expected 54% to a record $19 billion, raising its vehicle sales target as global demand led by China rebounds from a coronavirus pandemic-induced slump.

Unlike other automakers, including Japanese peers Nissan Motor and Honda Motor, that have had to cut production because of semiconductor shortages, the world’s biggest automaker said it is raising output.

Shares in Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker by vehicle sales, rose 2.3% after the new forecasts were released.

The automobile industry has been grappling with a chip shortage since the end of last year, which has in some cases been exacerbated by the former U.S. administration’s sanctions on Chinese chip factories.

But the maker of the RAV4 SUV crossover and the Prius gasoline hybrid said it expects to sell 9.73 million vehicles this year, up 3.3% from a previous forecast of 9.42 million, if down from last year’s 10.46 million.

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“For the near term, we do not see any decrease in production volume due to the chip shortage, but we do see risks of a chip shortage,” said Chief Financial Officer Kenta Kon, speaking during a briefing.

“We hear voices saying that chip shortage might continue until summer. But maybe it will not continue until then and it might resolve (itself) at an earlier stage.”

For the fiscal year ending March 31, Toyota now expects a record operating profit of 2 trillion yen ($19.13 billion), far higher than an earlier prediction of 1.3 trillion yen, and well above an average 1.542 trillion yen profit forecast based on predictions from 23 analysts, Refinitiv data shows.

It now expects the yen to trade at 105 yen against the U.S. dollar, versus a previous forecast of 106 yen.

Toyota said operating profit rose to 987.9 billion yen in the three months ended Dec. 31. This easily beat an estimated average of 565.51 billion yen profit from nine analysts surveyed by Refinitiv SmartEstimate.

($1 = 104.5700 yen)

Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Writing by Tim Kelly; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell; Reuters

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