Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM) said on Wednesday that its operating profit for the January-March quarter surged to 313.9 billion yen, or $3.17 billion, as solid sales and the devaluation of the Japanese yen drove a strong gain.
Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM)’s profit came in well ahead of Wall Street estimates, which called for a gain of 263.8 billion yen, and was more than double the company’s year-ago result.
It’s an impressive showing for the Japanese auto giant, which is poised to make hay from its government’s recent currency moves – and which saw its profits trail rival Volkswagen‘s last year, even though Toyota sold more cars.
Strong full-year numbers driven by success at home
Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM)’s fiscal year ends on March 31, so the company also reported its full-year operating profits on Wednesday. Those were also strong: 1.32 trillion-with-a-t yen, or about $13.3 billion. While that lags VW’s 2012 operating profit of $15 billion, it’s well above the 2012 pre-tax profit of $7.9 billion that was posted by Toyota’s other huge global rival, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), earlier this year. Toyota’s net profit for the full year ended March 31 was 962.16 billion yen, or $9.7 billion.
CEO Akio Toyoda attributed the full-year gains to increased sales in North America and Asia and to a global push to control costs and increase margins. Toyota’s U.S. sales were up 8.7% in the January-March quarter – though its sales here actually fell in April for the first time in almost two years. Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM)’s Camry – long the best-selling car in the U.S. – was outsold by Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC)‘s Accord over the last two months, and pressure from Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)‘s strong new Fusion sedan has cut into Toyota sales as well.
CEO Toyoda cited Asia as a key contributor to Toyota’s full-year result, but it was really Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM)’s home market of Japan that pushed the company’s results in the most recent quarter. Toyota has a commanding lead in its home market, where it sold almost as many vehicles last year as it did in all of North America. Earnings from sales in Japan in the most recent quarter were 309.8 billion yen, 57% higher than the average analyst estimate, according to Bloomberg.
A mixed bag in Asia; profits up in Europe
Asia – which Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM) reports separately from its Japan results – remains a mixed bag for Toyota. On the one hand, Toyota’s strong presence in the many emerging growth markets throughout Southeast Asia consistently drives good profits, and should be a catalyst for significant growth in coming years.