Toyota posts record annual profit of $17.9b

Tags: Cars
Toyota has posted a record annual net profit of $17.9 billion as the world's biggest automaker saw a recovery in major markets and got a boost from the weaker yen.

But the company, hit by a series of huge recalls and recent labour problems in India, warned that profit growth would slow this year.

Still, the buoyant results underscore a recovery not only for the Camry and Corolla maker but also for rival auto giants including Nissan and Honda.

Honda saw its net profit in the past fiscal year soar 56.4%, while Nissan reports its annual financial results next week.

Yesterday, Toyota said it had earned a net profit of 1.82 trillion yen ($17.9 billion) over the fiscal year to March, nearly doubling from a year earlier, as sales rose 16.4% to 25.69 trillion yen.

Toyota's operating income also jumped to 2.29 trillion yen, from 1.32 trillion yen, it said.

"Our consolidated operating income increased due to increased vehicle sales mainly in Japan and North America and to group-wide cost reduction activities," company president Akio Toyoda said in a statement.

Japanese automakers have been big winners over the past year as a sharp drop in the yen inflated their repatriated profits, with results accelerating on the back of stronger demand in key markets including the US and China.

Sales in China fell off a cliff in late 2012 and into last year as a Tokyo-Beijing diplomatic row sparked a consumer boycott of Japanese brands in the world's biggest vehicle market.

Relations remain tense, but Japanese manufacturers have reported sales are returning to pre-spat levels.

Toyota has ramped up its drive to tap emerging markets, but analysts point to Japan's April sales tax hike and unrest in Thailand as possible headwinds.

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